Those who like to indulge in a good omelet or quiche at the local cafe should prepare to pay a little more—if it's even on the menu.
Restaurants are struggling to deal with higher egg prices and an inability to get enough eggs and egg products in the midst of a shortage brought about by a bird flu virus that wiped out millions of chickens on commercial farms this spring. Some restaurants are pulling especially eggy dishes off menus while others are contemplating raising prices until the supply returns to normal.
Getting eggs from a smaller, local producer - which have largely been spared from the outbreak—has not protected Omaha restaurant owner Nick Bartholomew and other independently-owned eateries. His supplier's inventory has dwindled to meet demand and production is down because of testing by federal safety officials. And the restaurant's overall production costs have gone up by 15 percent in recent weeks, so he says he'll have to raise prices soon.
"We're now having to use three or four different producers and call around to different chicken farms to see what is available and when it will be available," said Bartholomew, whose restaurant, Over Easy, serves breakfast and lunch with a focus on local ingredients. The restaurant has already taken strata—an egg casserole similar to quiche—off the menu.