Seafood Sticker Shock

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The Lenten season typically means big sales for seafood.

But with prices high, and rising even more, two local restaurants worry people could change their eating traditions.

“It’s a daily battle,” says Jeremy Reilly, who runs Cote’ in Old Towne Slidell with partner Nick Megow.

“Louisiana Shrimp became a hot commodity.”

In business only six months, Reilly says the price of seafood across the board rose drastically since opening, “It’s hard to get local fresh product at a decent price and be able to resell it.”

The high cost of local crawfish and shrimp creates the biggest economic impact.

“Crawfish is sky high this year,” says owner Roland Mollere at R and O’s in Lakeview, who blames this year’s frigid winter for higher cprices, “As long as the cold weather is here, the price of crawfish is going to stay high.”

And for the rising cost of shrimp?

“There was a big shrimp kill overseas,” says Reilly.

“And the demand on Louisiana shrimp is higher than it’s ever been,” assures Mollere.

Megrow says the challenge is to maintain Cote’s growing  reputation for a high standard of quality,  “By keeping everything fresh as possible.”

Which most often comes at a cost to everyone who eats seafood, “If I spend $2 more for a pound for shrimp, I charge the consumers for that,” says Mollere.

Megrow hopes consumers help by supporting a “buy local” philosophy to keep the momentum of all businesses in Olde Towne Slideel on the economic upswing, “A locally produced community. Is that possible?”

“We’re all trying to keep each other in business,” adds Reilly.

Mollere says currently, the cost buy some seafood overseas is less.

He says the least expensive local seafood sold now is catfish,  “The locals are not going to pay these prices. Pray for some sunshine.  That’s all I can say.”

To learn more about the two restaurants in our story, click the links below.