007 Travelers visited this lovely restaurant in a hot night at Miami South Beach in the summer of 2019. When we mentioned that we are from Finland, the man at the desk said that his favourite Formula 1 driver is “Iceman” Kimi Räikkönen!
We had to wait for a while to get a table, but then we were guided to our table and recommended to order different kinds of fish foods. (we are not really the fans of seafood, so no crabs this evening…)
In James Bond’s world the restaurant was first referenced in Ian Fleming‘s “Goldfinger” (1959), but Fleming changed the restaurant’s name to “Bill’s on the Beach”. Bond also visits here with Miss Moneypenny in “The Moneypenny Diaries: The Guardian Angel” (2005) by Kate Westbrook.
“He came into my room on our first evening (Hotel National on South Beach), while I was writing, and it was only sleight of hand that prevented him from catching me in the act. He was in better spirits and whisked me off to a wonderful restaurant called Joe’s Stone Crab
(* A South Beach landmark, first established in 1913, and as popular today. Appeared in Fleming’s Goldfinger, loosely disguised, as “Bill’s on the Beach”) on Southern Point, just across the road from the small park where I waited for his boat not to arrive. I showed him the jetty. “I was so worried about you”, I told him. “I thought your ship was never going to come in.” Well, it has now, my Penny”, he replied.
We sat for hours wearing plastic bibs, eating stone crabs with the melted butter dribbling down our chins, while he told me about his last visit here, the night before his first encounter with Goldfinger.
Kate Westbrook: “The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel” (2005)
The food was wonderful and during the meal we watched cheerful people around us and had lovely time together. The staff is really friendly and they chatted a lot with us, which was really nice.
The restaurant was opened in 1913, by Joe Weiss, who began his Miami Beach career by cooking at Smith’s Casino beginning in 1913. Joe’s is the biggest buyer of Florida stone crab claws, and it plays a significant role in the industry, influencing the wholesale price and financing many crabbers.
Even though stone crabs are their most famous dish now, fish was served, rather than crabs, after the restaurant’s opening. When an ichthyologist asked Weiss why he didn’t serve stone crabs, he answered that no one would want to eat them. He was wrong, as they found out soon after first cooking them.
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