METAIRIE, LA -- On the two-year anniversary of the BP Oil Spill, restaurant industry leaders told Eyewitness News, business was slowly returning to normal, but not there yet. The spill continues to taint the perception of Louisiana Seafood for some.
"If I'm out of town," Drago's owner Tommy Cvitanovich said Friday, "if I'm in Washington DC doing oysters, or doing seafood for a certain event, we still get questions, especially about oysters." Drago's signature dish is their Charbroiled Oysters.
"The supply (of oysters) is definitely tighter than it was pre-oil spill," Cvitanovich said, "but also, the demand is down."
The supply of crabs is also a problem, according to owners of Galley Seafood on Metairie Road. The prices they're paying for seafood are significantly higher now than before the spill, according to restaurant owners.
"Our profit margin is definitely not the same as it was two years ago," Galley Seafood owner Vicky Patania said Friday. "We took a tremendous hit right after BP."
Things have improved, according to Vicky Patania, and are better than a year ago, but still not completely back to normal.
Industry leaders are quick to point out, Louisiana Seafood is the most tested food in the world, and has passed every tests. Restaurant owners say tourist who choose to come to Louisiana already understand that, and locals stopped asking about the seafood a long time ago.
"I can't remember the last time a local asked me if the oysters were safe," Tommy Cvitanovich.
Despite the issues now, both Cvitanovich and Vicky Patania see reasons for optimism. Galley Seafood makes the Soft Shell Crab Po'Boys at Jazz Fest."This is going to be the biggest Jazz Festival in the 35 years I've been in it," Vicky Patania said.