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Omaha's seafood providers feel heat amid restrictions

The Southern Cuisine and Seafood Festival, otherwise known as Oysterfest, will be held Saturday evening at World's Fair Park./ Source: MGN
The Southern Cuisine and Seafood Festival, otherwise known as Oysterfest, will be held Saturday evening at World's Fair Park./ Source: MGN(WVLT)
Published: May. 29, 2020 at 8:14 PM CDT
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Seafood producers in some parts of the country have struggled to sell oysters during the pandemic. The ripple effect has reached a restaurant here in the middle of the country.

“We’re one of the very few places in Omaha you can get these quality fresh oysters,” said Nick Carlson with Shucks.

During the deepest part of Nebraska’s stay-at-home measures, Shucks Fish House had to turn down customers asking for one of its most popular items.

“The concern was the cost of the product and losing money on it, “said Carlson.

“The average case of oysters I see costs anywhere from $80 to $280 for a case of about 100 oysters,” said Carlson

And like many seafood restaurants, Shucks could not predict what the demand for oysters would look like when direct health measures kept customers at home. That steered restaurants from placing its typical orders from oyster farms.

The restaurant couldn’t sell oysters as a do-it-yourself meal either. That’s because many Americans don’t know how to properly shuck at home.

“We were constantly asked when we were going to get oysters back, if we had any that day, or if we had frozen ones that customers could take home. But, we couldn’t have them on hand,” said Carlson.

But now the tides have turned. The state is easing its health measures and customers are trickling into restaurants eager to slurp up the food considered a luxury.

“We pride ourselves on fresh seafood. There are restaurants that will get them and they’re frozen, but our owner has it down to a science and knows the fisherman and farms and brings them in on trucks every few days fresh,” said Carlson.

Experts say oysters are a great source for zinc--meaning it's great for your immune system.

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