The Hustle

'Staten Island Hustle' stars devised a way for you to eat New York’s famous pizza and bagels anywhere

New York City is known for many things — Broadway shows, yellow cabs, Wall Street power brokers. But the most delicious thing it's famous for is its bread.

"We're known for our pizza, our bagels," Ron Montana, a serial entrepreneur, hustler and lifelong New Yorker tells CNBC. "New York has the best pizza in the world, I would say. I mean, at least in the United States, that's for sure."

Why is it so good? The theory goes it's all in the local water.

Soon, diners across the country will be able to eat New York pizza made with the magic ingredient thanks to Montana and his investing buddies — Dom Detore, Mike Palmer, Tony DeCicco and Adolfo LaCola. They dreamed up the New York WaterMaker, a machine that can turn any H2O into NYC H2O, with "the exact hardness, molecular structure and chemical composition," according to the product's website.

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The product is featured on CNBC's Wednesday-night prime-time show "Staten Island Hustle," which follows the group of businessmen and their entrepreneurial efforts.

Every week the guys share a meal at Angelina's Ristorante in Staten Island and kick around ideas to make extra cash. At one gathering, while eating a slice of bread with butter, Montana discussed the idea of recreating New York water so people could bake the top-notch bread in other states.

The cast of CNBC's Staten Island Hustle
NBC Universal | Staten Island Hustle
The cast of CNBC's Staten Island Hustle

"You can't duplicate that in Florida, in Jersey, in California — anywhere," says Montana on the show. "If they ever had a sandwich with New York bread down in L.A. or in Florida, they would die," says Palmer.

It is a common theory among foodies that New York's "'Champagne' of drinking water" (as the state's Department of Environmental Conservation has dubbed it) contributes to tastier dough. (Though there is some debate over the issue.)

"What makes New York water so special is the fact that we run a pH level that's almost neutral, plus our total dissolved solids are all at the right level, which is conducive with making baked goods," LaCola says on the show.

"Everyone knows that New York City water is the best in the world," Detore says on the show. "So Ron's idea ... he may be onto something."

On the show, you see them test the theory. Palmer, LaCola and Montana drove to New Jersey to collect tap water from a truck stop. Then they asked the owner of Mikey Bagels in Staten Island to make one batch of bagels with the New Jersey water, and one using water from New York.

The New York bagels rose higher and became more golden brown in the oven. And diners at the shop agreed the bagel made with New York water tasted better.

"I definitely like this one better, guys," a customer at Mikey Bagels says, pointing to the darker bagel. "I'd pay slightly more for that."

Mikey bagels made with New York City water
CNBC | Staten Island Hustle
Mikey bagels made with New York City water
Mikey Bagels made with New Jersey truck stop water
CNBC | Staten Island Hustle
Mikey Bagels made with New Jersey truck stop water

The Staten Island investors worked with Dr. Emmanual Moya, the head of research and development at Greencrown Water in New Jersey, to build a prototype of a machine that could replicate the properties of New York water.

After months of testing and tweaking, a tasting of the machine-made New York water was a success. What started out as New Jersey water became indistinguishable from New York water after it was run through the system.

Mike Palmer, Adolfo LaCola and Ron Montana visit Greencrown Water.
CNBC | Staten Island Hustle
Mike Palmer, Adolfo LaCola and Ron Montana visit Greencrown Water.

"It smells like New York City water, it tasted like New York City water," says LaCola on "Staten Island Hustle" after a sip.

To get started selling, the investors flew out to Los Angeles and met with local businesses, arguing the machine would pay for itself in new customers.

"We spoke to people in bagel stores, bakeries, restaurants," Palmer says on "Staten Island Hustle." "We sold preorders for 20 units."

A 10-year license to use the machine costs $28,900, says Paul Errigo, the CEO at Greencrown Water. The fee can be paid in full or financed.

Errigo recently unveiled the machine to the public at the International Pizza Expo in March. There are dozens of orders for the machine underway, Errigo tells CNBC Make It, adding, "every single day there are more inquiries coming in."

And a few shops across several states have machines already installed, Detore says.

"The New York WaterMaker is working in several locations that we've placed it in, New Jersey and Connecticut, a couple of other places outside of New York, and to a lot of success," Detore tells CNBC.

For Palmer, the New York WaterMaker is not just a side hustle but a project with the potential to strike it rich.

"I have no doubt in my mind that this water machine will be not only a home run," he says, "but a grand slam."

All new episodes of "Staten Island Hustle" air Wednesdays at 10P ET/PT on CNBC.

Don't miss: How these 5 guys from Staten Island got their own TV show on CNBC

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