NEW ORLEANS - If you're shopping for red meat, you better hang on to your wallet. The cost of beef is at its highest level in nearly three decades.
Four generations of New Orleanians have satisfied their taste for USDA Prime Beef at Crescent City Steaks in Mid-City. Owner Anthony Vojkovich says it costs a little more to get your fill these days.
"You don't want to raise your price," said Vojkovich. "You want to keep it as low as you possibly can. But, with the price going up, you have to do what you have to do to continue to make money."
Grocery stores like Langensteins in Uptown are also raising prices at the meat counter. Owner and operator Trey Lanaux says beef prices are always up and down, but lately they've been up in a noticeable way.
"I think it all started with the drought that they had in the Midwest and feed prices," said Lanaux. "It's been kind of a perfect storm of all sorts of things hitting at once to drive the prices up."
The average price of choice-grade beef has soared to $5.28 per pound. As a result, shoppers like Linda Barrett are changing their eating habits. "Eating less red meat, which is my favorite," said Barrett. "We eat pork, we still have some shrimp in the freezer that we're eating."
If you want to save some money when it comes to beef, you may want to consider subbing out a top sirloin for a filet or a flank steak for a New York strip. They're both cheaper alternatives. "People are still eating red meat," said Lanaux. "They are just kind of picking and choosing perhaps when they're going to eat it."
Back at the Crescent City Steaks, the owner says diners are grinning and bearing the high beef prices, at least for now.
"It mostly just hurts the customers in the wallet," said Vojkovich. "The first 3 months of this year have been very good for us. It's the best three months we've had at the beginning of the year in a long time." The price of chicken and pork have also increased, because of higher demand.