For those that didn’t get my inside scoop to Miami and Sunny Isles in part 1, check it out here. As I mentioned in that post, I’ve been coming to Miami for the past 25+ years. Each and every year it’s my duty to make a trip to Joe’s Stone Crab. It’s easily one of my favorite restaurants in the world, mostly because of the memories that come along with it (as this was my mom’s favorite restaurant), but don’t get me wrong, the food is stellar, and ultimately the reason why I’ve been coming back every year.
Joe’s opened in 1913, and has been in the same location ever since. Although it has gone through 2 expansions in my lifetime, and what you see now is much, much larger than what it once was in the 90’s. They are famous for, wait for it….. their stone crabs, which come chilled, and pre-cracked with a side of their mustard sauce. Not like your standard crab claws you may be familiar with, stone crab claws are much meatier than Alaskan King Crab, and far tastier. Stone crabs are only allowed to be harvested during October 15th to May 15th. One claw is taken from the crab, so that the crab can fend for itself and grow back another claw, females bearing eggs are also thrown back, making it a sustainable practice guaranteeing years of delicious claws for years to come!
For more facts about harvesting stone crabs check out the details here.
Back in the day Joe’s would close when it wasn’t Stone Crab season, but since they’ve become a little more lax, and I can remember grabbing a meal there in August one year. The take away? Make sure you visit Joe’s for Stone Crab season, and prepare to wait a long time for a table, as they don’t take reservations. I’ve waited as much as 2-2.5 hours to be seated, and this is post renovation. When I was a kid and we made our annual mid-winter break to Miami in February, it’d be a surefire 2-3 hour wait every single time. God bless my parents for dealing with 2 hungry children that didn’t want anything else but chopped sirloin.
Now that I’ve given you brief Joe’s history, and my history with Joe’s, let’s get down to brass tacks and figure out what you need to eat here.
- Stone Crabs (Large Claws ($50-$60 for 5 claws? Although Medium’s would suffice).
- Hash browns
- Creamed Spinach
- Cole Slaw
- Key Lime Pie
- I’ve also been ordering the Cioppino for the past 5 or so years, and I’ve never been disappointed. Then again I don’t think anyone has ever been disappointed with a meal they’ve had there.
(When I get a chance I’ll have to find my old school menu that is signed by Cal Ripken Jr. and add it to the post)
Unfortunately, Joe’s has also expanded to Chicago and Vegas over the past 10-15 years. I would’ve loved for it to be an exclusive Miami experience, but they’re in the business of making money, so how can you blame them? Joe’s in Miami is the 2nd highest grossing restaurant in the US (and that’s even with the possiblity of closing for a month or two in summer!), behind TAO in Las Vegas. Joe’s brought in $35MM in 2013. Joe’s Chicago restaurant was #10, bringing in $21MM, and the Las Vegas restaurant was #12 bringing in ~$20MM. So all in all, that’s $76MM across 3 restaurants. Sounds like a pretty successful operation if you ask me, no?
If you get the chance to go to Joe’s you won’t be disappointed, just be prepared to drop some cash on a nice meal.