Chicken wing prices take flight; local restaurants struggle to keep costs down

Chicken wing prices have taken flight. "It's cheaper to buy a NY strip dinner than it is to get 20 wings," says Noelle Cavallo-Nattress, of Cavallo's, in New Hartford.

Posted: Apr 16, 2021 5:22 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2021 5:51 PM

Chicken wing prices have taken flight.

"It's cheaper to buy a NY strip dinner than it is to get 20 wings," says Noelle Cavallo-Nattress, of Cavallo's, in New Hartford. "So an average price of wings that we should be paying is $2.20 to $2.40 a pound. We now are at $4.10 a pound, so that doubled in price."

The 'fowl' play is not unique to Cavallo's. Charlie's Pizza, in north Utica, is feeling the pinch. And they point out-the wing's entire journey to your plate is getting more pricey.

"It's the sauce and the ingredients that you mix, those are all double. Containers, foil, food handler gloves that used to be 30 bucks a case are now 90 and you can't get those," says Charlie DiGristina.

Restaurants often absorb the increase as long as they can, before passing it along to the customer.

"It is a wing night, so we are doing dollar wings, which is the best I can offer at this point, so if you get 20 wings on a Tuesday or Wednesday, they're 20 bucks, if you get them regularly on a different night, they're $24.99," says Cavallo-Nattress.

According to Casa Imports, which supplies food to local restaurants, there are many factors driving up food prices: Demand, outpacing production, due to a labor shortage, rising fuel costs, rapid reopenings due to high demand, and, products leaving the country due to worldwide demand. The family-owned local restaurants say they will stick it out, and they hope their customers will, too.

"Just remember when that waitress is waiting on you or your food's taking longer, every restaurant in this area needs help and just give us an extra 10-15 minutes, we'll make it right," says Cavallo-Nattress.

Wing prices are expected to stay higher than normal through the summer.

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