Meat shortage during pandemic hurting taquerias
LOS ANGELES - A meat shortage is hurting the smaller taco stands ahead of one of their biggest days of the year.
One of the biggest celebrations in Los Angeles, Cinco de Mayo, is four days away. More people will be at home for the celebration but there could be fewer options at the dinner table.
Reason enough for taco shop owner Elvis to stock his freezers at Bad Son Tacos at the Little Tokyo Market Place in downtown L.A.
Elvis even had to put up a sign letting his customers know he's now using the dark meat from chicken tighs after having no luck finding chicken breasts. He found some empty shelves at the Restaurant Depot off Washington Boulevard -- it's where cooks from smaller restaurants get all their supplies, but a shortage here sent Elvis to his own butcher who is also running low.
Prices have already gone up in just the last few days. Not so much because of the meat shortage but due to a disruption in the food chain.
COVID-19 has forced some meatpacking plants to close leaving grocery stores like Pavillions-Albertsons and Vons to limit meat purchases to two packages per household.
Meanwhile, Elvis may be forced to switch to a less popular vegetarian menu.
"They don't like it that much, especially here in Little Tokyo -- there are not a lot of Latinos. They know what they want and they know the safe route is beef," said Elvis.
But that "safe route" is getting expensive. Beef prices are up 75 cents a pound in just the last few days -- maybe not that bad if you're just buying a pound or two, but how about 50 pounds like Elvis has to buy?