“I love Joe’s Stone Crab—it is a Miami must-do. The atmosphere is always buzzing—people at the bar giddy with excitement. The wait staff is perfection. Waiters running with trays over their heads on sturdy extended arms. The waiters’ stories you’ll read in this book are as perfect as they are!”—Rosie O'Donnell
“If there is one thing about Joe’s Stone Crab—it’s consistently GREAT! People come from all parts of the world to eat at Joe’s and experience the excellent service. Joe’s is symbolic of our great city and its growth over the years. We are very proud of all they have accomplished and wish them continued success.”—Emilio Estefan
“Heart-warming, fascinating, and informative. What makes this book great is what makes Joe’s great: the people, whose skills and dedication make Joe’s one of the world’s great culinary attractions. I could not put this book down until I finished it.”—T. D. Allman, author of Miami: City of the Future
“Joe’s Stone Crab has always been about long lines and great food. Now Deeny Kaplan Lorber offers a glimpse of the iconic restaurant between the lines, so to speak. Introducing us to the people who make up the wait staff personalizes the history of the oldest eatery in Miami Beach; Waiting at Joe’s is good read for fans of Joe’s and those intrigued by Florida culinary history.”— Heather McPherson, coauthor of Field to Feast
They’ve served the rich, the famous, and the infamous, ranging from Madonna and Al Capone to Amelia Earhart and Bill Clinton. They’ve escorted patrons to their cars during the cocaine wars and sent trays of food from the kitchen to high profile patrons via Secret Service agents. They work at the second-highest grossing restaurant in the United States—one of the most coveted jobs in the business. They are the waiters of Joe’s Stone Crab, a one-of-a-kind South Florida landmark.
Joe’s Stone Crab opened in Miami Beach in 1913 as a modest restaurant situated behind the apartment of owners Joe and Jennie Weiss. Miami Beach, not yet a city, could be accessed only by ferry. Stone crabs weren’t even on the menu. A lot has changed in the past century: Joe’s Stone Crab boasts locations in Chicago and Las Vegas, and people travel across the globe to dine on its signature stone crabs, a delicacy often mimicked but never matched by countless other restaurants.
Throughout its history, Joe’s has never accepted reservations. The anticipation and camaraderie in waiting two to three hours for a table has become as much a part of the dining experience as the exquisite food. Along the way, Joe’s has gained a reputation for excellent service provided by its extremely dedicated, talented, and loyal wait staff.
A chance to serve at Joe’s is one of the most sought-after jobs in the restaurant business. Staff members are paid extremely fair wages, compensated with retirement packages, and receive generous time off. It’s not unusual to encounter a waiter who has been at Joe’s for fifteen or twenty years. Some have stayed on for upward of thirty, forty, and even fifty. Bonds between coworkers are strong, and some are so proud of their home-away-from-home that some waiters even request to be buried in the front courtyard at Joe’s for all of eternity.
By giving voice to these unsung individuals, Deeny Kaplan Lorber reveals the inner workings of Joe’s in this collection of fascinating, intimate vignettes. Go behind the scenes of a thriving business that treats both staff and customers like family. For one hundred years, Miami natives and tourists alike have waited and dined alongside celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Dan Marino, and Jennifer Lopez. There’s no other place in the world quite like Joe’s Stone Crab; this is the story of the waiters, not the wait.