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Jackson restaurant owner used to boil water notices, hopes for change

Alex Eaton, who owns two Jackson restaurants, has grown accustomed to boil-water notices in Mississippi's capital city. Nevertheless, he's still hoping for change.

Even though the city of Jackson has been under a boil-water notice for over six weeks now, some restaurant owners are looking to stay in Jackson despite the recent adversity.

Alex Eaton, the owner and executive chef of Aplos and The Manship, said that he has grown accustomed to facing the issue of constant boil-water notices due to a lack of clean tap water. During the freeze of 2021, the restaurant owner acquired a water trailer and found a way to hook it up at his popular Greek eatery.

“I wish this was the first time we’ve had to deal with it, but we’ve actually been numbed at this for so long,” Eaton said on MidDays with Gerard Gibert. “Last year, we had the big freeze which knocked us out. We couldn’t sit there and think, ‘What can we do?’ so, I went and found a water trailer and figured out how to hook it up. We were practiced in this.”

While the idea of a boil-water notice and the maneuvering involved to run a restaurant may seem like a foreign concept to those in surrounding areas, Eaton has not only gotten used to the matter but has found a way to encourage other Jackson restaurant owners who are plagued by the current crisis.

“It’s difficult for those that aren’t around here. People that are in town for business, they don’t understand it, but for the other people that are used to it, they just sit there, ‘Man I can’t you’re having to go through this. This is terrible. This is horrible,'” Eaton said. “It is horrible and I don’t want people to feel sorry for us, because we’re in the restaurant business. It’s a tough business, but I would like to say that if you’re in Jackson in the restaurant business as of late, you can pretty much make it anywhere if you can get through what’s all thrown at you here.”

Although water pressure has been restored for the majority Mississippi’s capital city, making functions such as flushing toilets and washing hands possible, Eaton is concerned about the next water-related issue that his restaurants will inevitably face. He says that it’s getting more difficult to justify being in the capital city.

“The city of Jackson has a lot to offer. The areas that I’m in, the community’s great, but it’s getting harder and harder to kind of defend why you’re still around,” a frustrated Eaton added. “It sure is convenient to get to your friends and get to your favorite restaurants, but when you’re eating off of paper plates, it’s a lot more convenient not to be around that.”

Eaton said that he’s currently working with the state and Pepsi to install a reverse-osmosis filtration system for his restaurants to provide drinkable sodas and water through their system when there is another boil-water alert or when low water pressure disrupts their capacity to serve beverages.

The full interview with Alex Eaton can be watched below.

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