Mexican restaurants feel the squeeze as lime prices skyrocket

AUSTIN (KXAN) — You may notice some changes the next time you order a meal from your favorite Mexican restaurant.  Lime prices have skyrocketed, forcing some restaurants to deal with the bitter reality by cutting costs.

Danny Herrera is the general manager at Fonda San Miguel, a Mexican Restaurant in Central Austin that doesn’t hold back on the lime. Whether it’s for a margarita or the guacamole.

“This has definitely gotten to be an outrageous situation,” said Herrera. “Almost 60 percent of our dishes call for some sort of lime.”

Herrera says a case of about 100 limes is usually between $20-$30 depending on the season, but in the last few weeks the cost has tripled.

“Now we are looking at $99.45 per case right now,” Herrera said. “We are already on a Friday or Saturday spending about $500-$600 on lime costs.”

The Texas Department of Agriculture says the average cost of limes are about $.53 cents each, which is more than double the cost from a year ago. They say the reason behind the price jump is because of a shortage in limes from Mexico. Texas imports 98 percent of its limes from across the border.

“Unfortunately Mexico had some severe rains and it nearly wiped out the crop, and we are having supply and demand right now,” said Bryan Black with The Texas Department of Agriculture.

Some Mexican restaurants have started using lemons instead. To keep their food quality, Herrera says he’s squeezing back in other ways. That could soon mean adiós happy hour.

“We definitely can pull a garnish of lime away from some entrees and if people would like it they can ask for it,” Herrera said. “But if it continues to be a problem in the prices of limes then we are definitely going to charge up on our margaritas.”

Or The Texas Department of Agriculture recommends another alternative.

“Why don’t you try a screwdriver,” said Black. “A screwdriver is orange juice and vodka, and I can tell you the Texas orange crop looks great.”

The Texas Department of Agriculture says it does expect the price of limes to go back down. They say Mexico could see a good lime crop as soon as this summer. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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