Tragedy has struck! Rita's Italian Ice has stopped selling frozen custard due to the recent egg shortage. How long will custard be off the menu? Will other place also stop serving? What are New Yorkers, New Jerseyites, and other Tri-Staters supposed to do? Everyone is panicking like summer has officially been canceled — but maybe we don't need to be freaking out quite as much as we are.
This whole mess can really be blamed on the avian flu — which, when it's not affecting humans and causing panic across cable news, does in fact affect actual birds. In this case, it's affecting chickens: Since April, thousands of birds have been struck down by the virus, drastically reducing the number of eggs available for purchase. And it seems that companies that require eggs in their products are now beginning to really feel the pinch.
Rita's is still open and still selling soft-serve ice cream and Italian ice, but the frozen custard is gone until further notice. "We will bring back our award-winning Frozen Custard as soon as we know that we have access to a sustainable supply of eggs," the company said. "In the meantime, we'll continue offering our soft-serve ice cream so guests can still enjoy their favorite 'cool treats.'"
Really, this shortage could not have come at a worse time. After all, this is summer! It is the exact time that people are craving frozen desserts. So where can you go in New York to find some sweet custard goodness? Well fortunately, many companies are still able to get enough eggs to make some for you. Where are your best alternatives? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Shake Shack
Another iconic New York institution, Shake Shack is still serving custard — at least for now.
Haagen Dazs doesn't sell custard, but their ice cream is certainly rich and creamy enough to fill your cravings; plus, you can buy pints and ice cream treats at your friendly neighborhood grocery store. You know, if you're too depressed about the whole lack of custard thing to venture too far from home.
3. Ralph's Famous Italian Ice
This Staten Island-based chain is still serving custard, too.
4. Dreyer's Frozen Custard
Dreyer's just unveiled their new frozen custard that you can find in the freezer aisle, and it turns out it couldn't have come at a better time. They also put together a handy video of the history of custard to celebrate the new product.
5. Make Your Own
And if none of this is hitting the spot, you can always try making your own custard. Here's a recipe from Serious Eats, for instance — it's a little labor-intensive, and you'll need an ice cream churn, but something tells me the results will be so, so worth it.
Best of luck, and here's hoping Rita's brings their custard back soon!