Joe’s Stone Crab reopens for 103rd season

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Stone crab season, that time of year South Florida seafood fans like to sink their teeth into, has officially arrived, and a legendary Miami Beach restaurant has reopened its doors to mark the occasion.

For the people who flocked to Joe’s Stone Crab in South Beach, Friday, it’s like Christmas morning in a plate.

Better make that several plates. Instead of opening presents, diners cracked open fresh crabmeat.

“Oh, we’re ready,” said Joe’s Stone Crab owner Stephen Sawitz. “We’re definitely ready for our 103rd season.”

Stephen Sawitz
Stephen Sawitz

Joe’s is famous for their stone crab served with mustard sauce and hash browns, but Sawitz said diners will have new menu options to choose from this year. “We did add a couple of new items on the menu, in the main restaurant,” he said. “The scallops dish is phenomenal. We tried it this summer. And there’s a new fish dish that we have.”

After delivering South Floridians’ stone crab fix for 103 years, Joe’s has it down to a science. Or is it an art?

7News reporter Chris Van Vliet put on some goggles and headed into Joe’s kitchen for a claws-on demonstration.

“We’re going to bib you up,” said Joe’s Head Chef Andre Bienvenu. “It will make you look good.”

Then he handed Van Vliet a mallet. “It’s the piece de resistance that makes it all happen,” said Bienvenu.

Chris Van Vliet
Chris Van Vliet

Van Vliet soon found out pounding those claws is not as easy as it looks. “I’ve got to get in the zone here,” he said.

“It’s a good workout for you,” said Bienvenu.

But those claws can be awfully slippery. “No, no! That’s a tough one,” said Van Vliet.

On a normal day, Joe’s will serve up 1,500 pounds of stone crab. It’s doesn’t get more fresh than being caught and served on the same day.


Diners can finish off their meal with a slice of key lime pie. Maybe it’s a good thing that Joe’s is closed between May and October.

“It’s part of a tradition,” said Sawitz. “Stone crabs are seasonal, we’re seasonal.”

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