A La­bor of Love

The sto­ries be­hind Joe’s Stone Crab

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY DOUG GALLOGL Y Doug Gal­lo­gly lives in Fort My­ers with his wife, Jackie.

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 at Joe’s, 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.

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