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Restaurants, bars battle lime prices

Some feeling the pain, others looking for options

Mother Nature and drug cartels have caused lime prices from Mexico to skyrocket, leaving restaurants and bars with a sour taste and paying more green for the fruit.
Mother Nature and drug cartels have caused lime prices from Mexico to skyrocket, leaving restaurants and bars with a sour taste and paying more green for the fruit.

Mother Nature and drug cartels have caused lime prices from Mexico to skyrocket, leaving restaurants and bars with a sour taste and paying more green for the fruit.

La Gloria at the Pearl Brewery prides itself on serving up meals and drinks that taste like they came out of your own kitchen.

"Everything fresh from scratch and no matter what it costs we're going to do it," said Francisco Mannechez, the restaurant's general manager.

Limes play a key role in many of their drinks and dishes.

"We do limes in our ceviches, we do limes in our margaritas. The tea, we keep putting limes in it, so we're not going to change a single thing," said Mannechez.

The restaurant goes through up to 10,000 limes a week. Heavy rains, disease and even drug cartels have limited the supplies and caused price increases. A case of limes has risen from about $40 to nearly $120 in a matter of weeks.

"Customers aren't paying anything else," Mannechez said. "As a business, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."

The increase has caused some to look at other sources.

Javier Gutierrez, manager for Golden Gloves Social House on Broadway, buys produce for that bar and Brooklynite. The increase has set in motion a bit of a "plan B."

"All in all, it's mostly trying to find the best product at the best price for us," said Gutierrez. "We've outsourced pre-squeezed lime juice which is a little bit cheaper for us since we're doing high volume with that."

But what they won't do is break taboos to save a penny or 10.

"Adding a garnish to what would be a normal gin and tonic with a lime garnish. It's sort of blasphemous adding a lemon to that," said Gutierrez.