Two weeks into the oil spill, it remains to be seen just how—if at all—Bay Area restaurants will be affected by the mini-disaster. While it seems that most restaurants are turning to substitute sources up and down the Pacific coastline, when it comes to the impact in the dining room and kitchen, conflicting reports continue to surface from the restaurant industry. Here's what the interwebs are saying:
1) Bad News: "Anthony Geraldi, co-owner of Fisherman's Grotto restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf, said seafood sales are typically the one bright spot for the city's tourism industry during what is otherwise a slow time of year. Most seafood sold at Fisherman's Wharf is caught far offshore, or elsewhere on the Pacific Coast. Even the crabs on ice in front of wharf eateries are likely shipped in from the Pacific Northwest. But still tourists aren't going to take a chance. And that's where the impact of businesses will be felt. 'It's not going to be a pretty picture ... It's definitely going to hurt.'" [IBA]
2) Bad News: In nearby Olema, chef Gary King of the Olema Farm House said he had only about 100 local oysters left - a half-gallon jar's worth. 'Yesterday I had to order more and called all around ... I finally ended up finding some from a place in Washington state called Oysterville.' The restaurant prides itself on serving 'West Marin hospitality"' by offering healthy food grown locally. 'But we can't get halibut. We can't get sturgeon. The crabs are iffy ... We serve local, high-end fare. If we can't get it locally, then we're just like everyone else.'" [SJMN]
3) Good News (Denial?): In the case of [Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto in Berkeley], and others owned by McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, she believes the spill will not make it more difficult for the restaurants to deliver high quality seafood. 'From our perspective, we won't be impacted at all based on the depth and sources of our seafood that we have,' Harms said. She also believes that the Bay itself is not heavily populated for the type of seafood used for consumption anyway." [IBA]
4) Gross News: "Some of the cancer-causing gunk that spilled from the Cosco Busan's fuel tank 12 days ago has dissolved into the Bay; some has attached to flotsam and sunk; and some has lined the Bay's floor, where it's expected to kill and contaminate fish, crabs and the microscopic life that feed the marine ecosystem, according to scientists, fishermen and environmental groups." [SFE]
5) Expensive News: "If crab is what you want, you'll be shelling out more for your shellfish. With bay and close-in waters off-limits for at least two weeks, there is going to be trouble getting plenty of supply, and we could see prices double. Vendors at Fisherman's Wharf hope they can get crabs from the Pacific Northwest. But they'll be competing with restaurants, fish markets and grocery chains due to its big impact on price. 'It was $8.95. Right now we had to go to $11.95. Like you said, scarce, supply is low, demand is high,' said Les Lopez from Sabella and La Torre's." [ABC]
Your thoughts on the oil spill's impact on the food industry in the comments field, please.