As Lime Prices Rise, Metro Phoenix Restaurants Figure Out a Way to Lower Cost

Think of your favorite dinner at a local Mexican joint -- the guacamole uses lime juice, the margarita uses lime juice, and your favorite street taco is typically topped with a slice of lime, too. Many drinks and dishes in town use the green citrus, but recently, cartels in Mexico have started trying to corner the lime market. Since the United States gets 95 percent of the limes used domestically from Mexico, this has put a squeeze on local restaurants, causing some to come up with alternate ideas to buying limes.

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According to USA Today, armed lime thieves have been stealing from groves directly and driving prices higher and higher for limes, as demand for the citrus rises. Truckers shipping limes have even begun driving with escorts, as one bandit recently commandeered a truck and stole a $50,000 shipment. While limes typically cost $14 per case, prices have skyrocketed to $120 per case and local restaurants are beginning to feel the sting.

However, Central Bistro in Phoenix and Local Bistro in Scottsdale have come up with a way to get limes a different way. Both spots are offering penny signature cocktails, glasses of draft beer, or glasses of house wine in exchange for a bag of limes. This offer is limited to one drink per guest over 21.

In a statement, the restaurants' beverage director Bill DeGroot said, "Many neighborhoods surrounding us, especially Arcadia, used to be citrus orchards, so we figured why not reward people who had a few limes to spare? We'll twist up a hand-crafted cocktail, glass of beer, or wine for the effort, so it's a win-win."

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