Nationwide chicken wing shortage impacts many Hampton Roads restaurants

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Posted at 4:12 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 13:24:02-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Chicken wings are what have made people flock to Moe Stevenson's restaurant, My Mama's Kitchen, for close to a decade.

"To earn extra money, my mom would sell wings on the weekend right outside the park," said Stevenson.

Moe's mom, Elaine, sold her famous wings in Harlem when Moe was a little boy. Those treats are now the backbone of his Shore Drive eatery.

"They are my top seller; we knew they would be. We had the recipe down, and that was the base of this whole thing," he said.

But lately, the cost of wings for Stevenson have been a little bit "fowl."

"The beginning of year started to get really bad, then it has been progressing every week," Stevenson said.

He is paying three times as more for his drumsticks than last year, which often equates to about $1,200 extra each week.

Stevenson has even had to raise his prices on wings, something he hasn't done but one time before in more than a decade.

"It is outrageous," he said. "I thought it would drop off after Super Bowl and March Madness was over, but it keeps going up."

All of this is due to a nationwide chicken wing shortage. Wings are in hot demand, according to the National Chicken Council. They attribute the spike to the fact it's a great and easy takeout item during COVID-19. They state that sales are up across the nation around 7%, while supply is smoked.

"It is a mad rush to get them. They are always out at the supplier," said Stevenson.

Stevenson isn't going to fly the coup just yet. Mama's house-made marinated wings are here to stay as long as the customers keep coming with their appetite.

"I gotta keep going. It is the mantra of the year - just push through this," he said.