Stone crab lovers are always excited when Joe’s Stone Crab opens for season every October, but tonight is special. At 5 p.m. when the doors swing open, it will mark the 100th Anniversary of Miami’s oldest restaurant. Owned by Jo Anne Bass, 81, and her son Stephen Sawitz, Joe’s is an icon that has attracted presidents of both parties, princesses both real (Stephanie of Monaco) and pop (read:Madonna), local power players and partiers. Famous for their no-reservations policy, Joe’s is known for making (almost) everyone wait, giving rise to Joe’s Take Away next door, a quick crab fix for the impatient.
Working for Joe’s has also long been known as the holy grail of waitstaff jobs, with summers off, high pay and a family atmosphere that was started by Jo Anne Bass’ grandparents when they opened Joe’s in 1913. To celebrate them Deeny Kaplan Lorber penned Waiting at Joe’s, which has a forward by Larry King, who got his start announcing at the Miami Beach Track that was once right across from Joe’s. The book features short stories and memories from the famous waitstaff and is just being released. After all, it is the staff that is credited with Joe’s longevity. The staff, who wear tuxedos every night and average twenty five years of service, recount stories of brushes with dignitaries (Bass herself recalls having fun with J Edgar Hoover), and heartwarming stories of long service in the family that is Joe’s Stone Crab.