Is sparkling water “free” at fast-casual restaurants?

I’m a huge fan of sparkling water, or as my Italian friends like to call it, “water with gas.” I was first introduced to it during my European travels and now drink about a can of unflavored sparkling water per day.

It also helped me kick my soda pop habit. Yes, I used to drink Coke Zero, but no more! For me, it’s all about the fizzies, and I’m just fine getting that from sparkling water. It’s much better for my hypoglycemia too!

I’ve started to see sparkling water pop-up on the soda machines at fast-casual restaurants and that left me wondering, is sparkling water “free” or should I pay for a soda for my habit?

I contacted three different fast-casual restaurants I’ve seen the option at to ask.

Chipotle: Via a response to my email, sparkling water is free

Local Foods Houston:  Via a response to my Facebook message, sparkling water is free. I realize this is local to Houston, but seriously, their food and service is amazing.

Torchy’s Tacos: I sent them two messages on their web form and private messaged them on Facebook, no response. Torchy’s I love you, but you suck when it comes to electronic customer service.

So I think it’s safe to assume it’s free, but it never hurts to ask. If you’ve seen this option anywhere else, please let me know, I’d like to reach-out to more places to provide a more robust answer.



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