Miami Beach: Joe's Stone Crab - Florida Stone Crab
The Florida stone crab, Menippe mercenaria, is found in the western North Atlantic, from Connecticut to Belize, including Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba and the Bahamas. The claws (chelae) of the stone crab, which are large and strong enough to break an oyster's shell, are considered a delicacy. Harvesting, which is done annually from October 15 to May 15, is accomplished by removing one or both claws from the live animal and returning it to the ocean where it can regrow the lost limb.
Joe's Stone Crab, located at the end of South Beach at 11 Washington Avenue, has grown from a small lunch counter opened in 1913 by Joe Weiss to become a Miami institution. In 1918, Joe opened up the "original Joe's Restaurant" in the front room of the bungalow he shared with his wife Jennie on Biscayne Street. But it wasn't until 1921, when an icthyologist noticed the large number of stone crabs in the area and brought them to Joe to find out if they were edible, that Joe's started serving the dish they are now famous for.