joes stone crabOn Tuesday, October 15, Joes’ Stone Crab will celebrate the opening of the Stone Crab Season together with its 100th anniversary . “The story of Joe’s Stone Crab is very unique,” said General Manager Brian Johnson during a phone interview. “The history of Joe’s goes back since 1913, owned by the same family. This is very unusual for a business in Miami, or anywhere,” he marveled as he recalled how Hungarian-born Joe Weiss opened the "original Joe's Restaurant" in the front room of the bungalow he shared with his wife Jennie on Biscayne Street and what a hit it was when the little kitchen shack started serving stone crabs claws.

 The crabs which feed on oysters, mollusks and crustaceans are a delicacy. No one eats the whole crab, just their claws which are plump and large and most importantly today, are a green product since they regenerate themselves.  Harvesting is accomplished by removing one or both claws − which must be at least 2.75 inches long − from the live animal and returning it to the ocean where it can regrow the lost limb).

stone crabWhen asked if there was going to be a party, Mr. Johnson replied “Joe’s has always kept a quiet name for itself. So instead of the family doing a big shindig, we’re doing what we do best, cater to our customers starting October 15, which is the first day we’re allowed to bring in the Stone Crabs.”

“We have two fisheries,” he continued “one in Marathon and one in Everglades City where the crabbers bring in the crab claws.  We need to get those claws cooked really fast so they stay really fresh," Johnson explained. "So we cook them right away, we grade them and ice them, and the next morning they’re at the restaurant where they’re sold throughout the next day.”

Brian Johnson is optimistic about this year’s harvest. “Last year was not a great year. I hope this year going to be better,” he said, explaining that the company basically sells the popular product at the market and in the restaurant based on the dock price. “ Until we see how' the harvest develops  this season, we’ll go with the same price as last year’s,” he said.

Brian Johnson has been working at Joe’s Stone Crab for 15 years as General Manager. The staff is well aware that Joe’s is a renowned institution by now, if not from the buzz around it, from seeing the world’s Who’s Who filling up its tables; politicians, actors, athletes, shakers and makers and generations of crab claws lovers who can’t wait to dip the delicacy in the restaurant’s legendary mustard sauce.

“A large part of our staff has been with us a number of years,” he said speaking of the 350 to 400 employees on premise at the Restaurant, the Take Away and the Shipping Department, not counting the fisheries. Our most senior server, we call him Big Daddy, has been there since 1966,” he claimed with pride as Joe’s Stone Crab celebrates the beginning of Stone Crab Season, along with CEO Stephen Weiss, the family’s fourth generation.

Joes' Stone Crab, 11 Washington Ave  Miami Beach, FL 33139 (305) 673-0365, www.joesstonecrab.com 

 

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