SAN ANTONIO — In a chaotic kitchen, coordination is key. In San Antonio, another ingredient is almost as crucial: Avocados.
"It might be a South Texas thing because everybody loves guac, so you gotta have it," said Oscar Mendez, a cook at Sangria on the Burg.
The eatery is one of many locally-owned restaurants that features avocado all over its menu.
"Our fish taco, our avocado taco, we use a lot of guac in the chicken fajita too, actually," Mendez said.
Ceasar Zepeda, the owner of Sangria on the Burg, said the fruit is on about 80% of the menu. But recently, this holy grail of an item many people enjoy is the reason why Zepeda's restaurant – and many others – feel bruised.
"It's a small investment to get an avocado," Zepeda explained.
An avocado shortage has caused prices to creep up this month. It can cost an extra dollar at the grocery store, but local restaurants are hit much harder.
"You're paying a hundred (dollars) for avocados—that's five times the normal cost." said Zepeda. "And next week, it could be $120."
While prices increase, quality has come into question. Zepeda said some of the cases of avocados he gets are nowhere near ripe.
To keep profits from the pits, owners must find a different way to get their green. Enter "mockamole"; released by fast-food chain Chachos this week, it's a "guacamole-type product made out of broccoli, green peas and other green vegetables" with added spices.
The San Antonio-based company explained it was their solution to the avocado shortage.
Zepeda said people may see changes to the menu in upcoming weeks.
"It's either go up on a product or don't have a product until prices are more stable," he said.
While produce prices regularly fluctuate, it's rare to see changes this extreme. Zepeda said he thinks what's happening thousands of miles away has given the public a fear that's tough to digest.
"Even the hint a storm's coming, or say our president tweets something, it affects it the next day," he said. "We'll see prices climb, (and) it hasn't even happened. Just talking about them affects them."
While your favorite dishes may cost more, or could vanish from the menu, the problem is likely temporary.
"It's a limited thing," Zepeda said. "I think a couple weeks, maybe a month."