By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A soaring demand for chicken wings has resulted in a wing shortage across the country. Some businesses have none in stock, which means they’ve had to take them off the menu.

Ray J’s American Grill has been voted to have the best wings in Minnesota, but owners are having a hard time making sure their signature dish is available.

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“They are great. They come out hot; you have to break them apart before you can eat them. They got the good spices on them, the home sauce is terrific,” said Steve Dorff.

Dorff knows chicken wings and he also knows he can count of Ray J’s for his supply of the best wings in Minnesota.

“They are famous for chicken wings, for ‘Wing Wednesday,'” Dorff said.

But the note on the door can stop any wing lover in their tracks. Specials on chicken wings are no more all because of a nationwide shortage.

“We’ve had issues keeping them in stock. We’ve had all of our distributors specifically getting these whole wings in for us, but they are running short. Our chicken case prices have nearly been up, I say, about 50%, “ Mark Jacob.

Owner Mark Jacob would rather take a financial hit than allow his customers go without his signature wings.

“We’re getting killed on our wings when we sell them, but at the same time they are our signature items. This is what we’re known for, so we have to see them,” Jacob said.

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According to the nation’s third largest poultry producer, Sanderson Farms, they don’t have enough supply to keep up with demand.

Ray J’s has four distributors that are catering to his two locations, one in Minneapolis, the other in Woodbury.

“There are a lot of places that are not getting the whole wing because we’ve gotten everything allocated to us, which is good but at the same time it’s sad to see these other guys who are not able to get it because all the allocations are going to us, “ Jacob said.

Calling ahead is key to make sure those golden fried wings are available.

“We’ll still serve them. They’re still great. They are still our jumbo wings, so yes they’re here,” Jacob said.

And fans like Dorff believe true chicken wing lovers will do what’s needed to feed that hunger.

Employees aren’t given discounts on wings either because margins are so tight. Ray J’s hopes chicken wing supply and prices will return to normal before summer ends.

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Reg Chapman