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Portland, ME

Tasty Fried Chicken Having Trouble Getting Chicken

Posted by 
Stephen L Dalton
Stephen L Dalton
Fried Chicken.Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has burdened life as we know it here in America. People have lost family and friends, jobs and homes, and business owners have been forced to shut down their businesses that have been open for decades.

Restauranteurs have been the primary target for lost equity in this apocalyptic type of nightmare in 2020. However, even though 2020 is in the rearview mirror, the battle with the virus is still ongoing.

For many, relief is in sight

In saying that, there indeed is still much to be thankful for -- substantial numbers have been vaccinated now. The death count is down. Employment is back up. And the most treasured family gathering areas — Restaurants — are now opening again.

Although life is proceeding with optimistic caution, the obvious question would be how are the restaurants continue to profit and pay the help with the price of quality meat so high?
Fried chicken chops.Photo by Rudy Herman from Flickr.

Tasty Fried Chicken’s Dilemma

Despite this, a Portland, ME Restaurant owner, Abraham Durani, took a chance a few months ago and opened his Tasty Fried Chicken (TFC) eatery. However, he was unaware of the fight he would have to join to keep his customers fed and his employees paid in hopes both would keep coming back.

The daily worry of finding quality meat at fair prices is linked to the chicken-producing giant — Tyson Foods. The company purchased breeding roosters that are not meeting the quota when it comes to hatchlings.

Therefore, a few eating places have continued to buy enough fowl to keep business above water. Luckily, Durani has kept the TFC going during this stressful food shortage.
Halal chicken at a Muslim supermarket.Photo by Rudy Herman from Flickr.

Halal Chicken

Abraham Durani has kept his TFC place open. However, it has taken some compromises on his part. The unique recipe complicates the problem because he cannot buy chicken from just any supplier.

This recipe calls for the chicken to be cut and fried in a specific way. It is a concept that stems from Durani’s cultural heritage. The Halal chicken he uses in his restaurant is purchased from one particular food supplier. However, the cost is exceptionally high due to the many cutbacks resulting from the pandemic.

To explain more about his journey to his current position, Abraham Durani traveled to America from Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2014. Before settling down in Portland, ME, he made a detour through Boston, Tennessee, and New York. Abraham learned English by working for five years for Domino's, the popular pizza franchise.

While traveling and working in different eateries, his main goal was to open his own one day. He landed in Portland, ME, and his dream has begun.

However, the fight to stay open still exists. Even so, Durani is not alone in trying to keep business consistent these days. Other restaurants in the Portland area also specialize in chicken. They, too, are having stressful days as they continue to try and keep a functioning business going despite the shortage of chicken meat.
Portland, ME poultry farm.Photo by Chesapeake Bay Program from Flickr.

One of these fellow poultry places is “Figgy’s,” owned by Natalie DiBenedetto. She opened her place in 2015, but the shortage and chicken prices have made it difficult for this single mother. She has had to make sacrifices, shortening hours and cutting her staff. Unfortunately, both have been necessary to stay open.

The Halal poultry slaughtering process

Halal Catering uploaded this to YouTube.

Both TFC and Figgy’s have pushed back against lowering wages or raising prices on their menus. They believe both staff and loyal customers deserve this sacrifice. However, they also admit their optimism is looming, and making day-to-day decisions is the only option to survive in this business.