BETWEEN THE LINES
The stories behind Joe’s Stone Crab
A Labor of Love
Afavorite with movie stars ( Tom Cruise and Robert Redford ate here), politicians ( Bill Clinton and Condoleezza Rice walked through the doors) and a slew of other celebrity- status folks, Joe’s Stone Crab on Miami Beach is a monumental dining establishment. It’s one of those restaurants where if you don’t rank as a celeb, a twoto- three- hour wait for a table is part of the experience. But who cares? Watching the eclectic crowd and the hustle and bustle of the wait staff is part of the fun.
Besides coming for the signature stone crab claws and parade of famous— and not- so- famous— people you might rub elbows with on any given day, Joe’s fans, when asked what brings them back to the restaurant, point to the servers. Waiting
at Joe’s, by Deeny Kaplan Lorber ($ 19.95, Seaside Publishing), is their story.
The servers at Joe’s unanimously consider their co- workers to be their extended family. The average employee has worked here for 30 years, with the “old- timers” approaching 50 years of service! Each has a story to tell, and this book is a collection of some of their favorite memories.
The forward was written by Larry King, a regular diner here for most of his life. You’ll read about Muhammad Ali, Jackie Gleason and J. Edgar Hoover— each recalled fondly by those who served them. The author also delves into the challenges the employees faced in years past, when people of color were legally required to be off Miami Beach by midnight or they might spend the night in jail. By the end, you’ll have an appreciation for the courage and sacrifice that helped turn a modest restaurant that started in 1913 into the beloved landmark Joe’s Stone Crab is today. Perhaps you’ll stop in for a bite and find your place in a server’s story.
Deeny Kaplan Lorber has 30 years of experience in the media and entertainment industries. She captures the spirit of Joe’s through the stories of the servers.