A crisis looms over breakfast tacos as the national egg shortage hits home in Austin. An outbreak of avian flu in the midwest led to the termination of millions of chickens, which directly translates into fewer eggs for scrambling. Texas fast-food chain Whataburger’s response has been to significantly curtail its breakfast hours, and an intrepid Eater Austin reader reports that popular breakfast taco stop Mi Madre’s on Manor has had to halt breakfast service at 11 a.m. due to the shortage. (They used to serve breakfast until 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. depending on the day of the week.) Meanwhile, HEB grocery stores have limited customers to three cartons of eggs.
We asked around to see whether and how other Austin restaurants were responding to the shortage, or if they’d even felt any sort of pinch. 24 Diner reports no difficulties yet, and neither does Bribery Bakery (dessert takes a lot of eggs, don’t you know). "I use Vital Farms eggs and haven't had any issues thus far," reports owner Jodi Elliott, citing the virtues of going local.
But all is not sunny-side-up at Kerbey Lane Cafe, which with seven locations and dozens of egg dishes on the menu, easily goes through thousands of eggs in a week. Says CEO Mason Ayer,
"Our egg suppliers have increased prices by about 17% so far and we expect further increases in the coming weeks and months. We are, however, in a relatively good position because we source our eggs locally. We are hopeful that we’ll only be affected on the margins by this crisis and that we won’t be put in a position where we’ll have to raise prices in order to remain profitable."
Any other restaurants out there feeling the squeeze of the egg shortage? Let us know.
— Melanie Haupt