Kane County

Why a Suburban Restaurant Plans to Charge for Tap Water

It's all for a cause, according to the restaurant and brewery's owner

Want a glass of water with your meal? You’ll have to pay for that at a suburban restaurant – but there’s a catch.

Beginning Sunday, Stockholm’s Brew Pub in Geneva will charge 25 cents for tap water at its restaurant and brewery, but it’s all for a cause, according to owner Michael Olesen.

The idea sprouted when a longtime employee, who also works for the Kane County Forest Preserve, asked Olesen to charge for water in an effort to keep guests from wasting it.

“He knows how many people order water and never touch it,” Olesen said. “He’s always like, ‘It’s such a waste.’”

That’s when Olesen suggested finding an organization the eatery can donate the money to.

The employee, who Olesen identified as Robb Cleave, suggested The Conservation Foundation in Kane County, which is doing work to improve the Fox River.

“Robb got us in contact with The Conservation Foundation and one discussion led to another and another and another and zip, bam, boom we’re going to start this,” Olesen said.

According to the restaurant and brewery, 100 percent of the profits will go toward efforts along the Fox River.

“We need clean water to make delicious beer,” Olesen said.

Why start it now? Olesen said the timing of the water charge is intentional because Sunday also marks the start of World Water Week, which was started by Stockholm’s International Water Institute.

“It’s kind of funny because the name of my restaurant is Stockholm’s,” Olesen said.

The water charge is expected to continue through the end of October.

As for feedback on the idea, Olesen said he’s hoping his guests will approve.

“If we get a lot of pushback and people are just upset by it we may have to curtail it because, after all, I do have to make a living. But I think that people will understand what we’re trying to do,” he said. “If everything works out great with this, we’ll bring it back in the spring or we may just do this on an ongoing basis - depends on how it’s received by our guests… I’m hoping that they’ll understand and see that this is a good win-win for everyone.”

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