Changes made after price of limes doubles - KCTV5

Bars, restaurants forced to make changes after price of limes doubles

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(Courtesy: AP GraphicsBank) (Courtesy: AP GraphicsBank)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The crowds at the Crossroads Art District might be sipping on something different this summer. Bars and restaurants have been cutting back on the number of limes they use for several months due to the increasing cost of the green fruit.

David Lopez said limes play a role in a third of his menu items at Manny's Mexican Restaurant, located at 20th Street and Southwest Boulevard. They add some zest and zing to dishes like guacamole and pico de gallo, something customers like Joan Hunt appreciate.

"It gives you an extra freshness, it cleans your palate, it just makes the agave and just pops the flavor. It's wonderful," Hunt said.

But poor growing conditions in Mexico and California have doubled the price of limes. Lopez has paid as high as $120 per case.

"You're talking about 100 percent, almost a hundred and 10 percent markup on a case of limes. So it left people scrambling pretty good this year," he said.

Many restaurants have stopped serving margaritas completely, but Lopez said that's not an option for him. Instead, he, his bartenders and cooks use limes for necessary dishes and are only offering them as a garnish upon request. They also use thinner slices so he can cut back without having to remove them from the menu altogether.

"You have to bob and weave because the market's always going to throw you different tricks. I can't do anything but serve limes with the wonderful, fantastic, historical dishes that we have. No matter what the cost, we'll make some adjustments and make sure customers get our limes," Lopez said.

He said most other bars and restaurants are doing the same thing.

"You have to appreciate what they're doing and what they're going through financially. Because if they keep cutting the limes like they used to do it's going to get passed along to the customer," Hunt said.

Even home consumers are finding ways to save.

"I buy limes about twice a month. I want to be a little more conservative so I buy them in bulk," Hunt said.

The restaurant manager said wholesale lime prices are actually starting to get a little cheaper. He expects prices to return to normal by fall.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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