Lime shortage hitting businesses in time for Cinco de Mayo


by JANET KIM / KING 5 News

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 6:39 AM

Updated Monday, May 5 at 6:39 AM

Seattle, Wash. -- Seattle businesses preparing to serve up margaritas and beer for Cinco de Mayo will be feeling the pinch from a lime shortage. Rain has hurt the lime crops in Mexico, wiping out the harvest before the fruit could grow.

Businesses like Mexcio Cantina and Cocina have seen the prices of lime nearly triple, from about $40 a case to $120. It's why servers have been asked to conserve.

"We are using fewer limes now; we went from two to one on our happy hour plates," said Ron Stahl, a server for Mexico Cantina and Cocina.

Restaurant manager John Robinson said right now the restaurant will eat the costs, but it's cutting into profits. 

"If I could I would dye my lemons green, I would," said Robinson.  "It's citrus for God's sake."

While places like Mexico Cantina and Cocina are getting creative, they're also being careful that customers still get just the squeeze they need.

"If there was no lime I wouldn't even be having this beer; I'd be having something else," said Farhaz Mithani, a customer. 

Droughts in California and the unseasonable cold in Florida haven't helped the lime shortage either, but businesses said they just need to get through Cinco de Mayo festivities, especially for customers who will be looking for that twist in their drinks. 

"I find it very sad because limes are important to what we eat and drink because we like margaritas," said Theresa Gren, a customer.

If the costs continue to rise, restaurants plan to make more adjustments.