Joe's Stone Crab on Miami Beach to Stay Closed, But Will Offer Takeaway

The restaurant weathered a few storms during the century, but the owner says none were like the coronavirus pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

Restaurants in Miami Beach begin to open Wednesday but one staple will stay closed.

Joe’s Stone Crab has been a Miami Beach staple for more than 100 years and usually closes for the summer, but now it’ll offer Joe’s Take Away all summer long. The restaurant weathered a few storms during the century, but the owner says none were like this.

NBC 6 spoke to owner, Stephen Sawitz, from his now-empty dining room on Miami Beach about what we can expect come October when the restaurant opens again.

“The main restaurant opens up in October, (people) are probably going to see 50% of the tables there. They’ll see the masks that have to be worn and they’ll have to wear masks up until the time that they’re seated but Joe’s is going to be Joe’s as much as we can be,” Sawitz told NBC 6’s Sheli Muñiz.

Joe’s has been named Highest Grossing Independent Restaurant in the country for years with about $38 million in sales. Sawitz says Joe’s was fortunate to have the Take Away, which is next door to the restaurant, and a shipping department. 

“Our shipping department sold crabs all over the United States and our Take Away was able to serve those in the community who have been supporting us so well in the last few months,” he said.

The restaurant had to lay off almost 350 people but was able to manage almost three weeks of wages and salaries, and then the Paycheck Protection Program helped with some income for another eight weeks. More than two dozen employees were able to continue working with Joe’s Take Away and the shipping department.

“Joe’s has, actually with my great grandparents, seen the pandemics with the Spanish Flu, WWI, WWII, the Depression, Vietnam, 9/11, and etc. This one, though, this one takes the cake. I believe COVID-19 has really been a game-changer for a lot of places,” Sawitz said.

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