Oct. 15 marked the 103rd season at Joe’s Stone Crab, a Miami Beach staple. The restaurant has been at its iconic spot on the Beach since 1913, when Joe Weiss used to serve up some mean fish sandwiches paired with crispy french fries.
Back then stone crabs weren’t even on the menu.
It wasn’t until 1921 that they figured out the brown spotted crabs crawling all over the Biscayne Bay shoreline were even edible. A Harvard ichthyologist (fish researcher) came down to do some marine life research and caught a bunch of them. He walked over to Joe’s carrying a sack of the stone crabs and helped Joe and his wife Jennie boil and crack the crabs’ hard shells.
They were an instant hit among Joe’s regulars. They became a staple of the menu, and , eventually part of its namesake.
One hundred and six years later the restaurant remains in the hands of the Weiss family. Joe Weiss’s great-grandson Stephen Sawitz has taken the helm.
“Joe’s was always more than just a place to eat or a place where my parents went to work. It was my upbringing,” Sawitz said. “When you grow up in something … it’s deeper than a passion you belong there.”
With such a long history on Miami Beach, we knew there were tons of things to learn about both Joe’s and all of their stone crab secrets. We brought our reader Fernanda Paguaga along to ask the questions. She wrote all about it — and the food — on her blog.