For years, it was an open Miami Beach secret that you could get Joe's Stone Crabs "to go," if you knocked at the back door. But starting in November 1987, you could get them much more easily-at Joe's Take Away. And there's no dealing with the long lines waiting to get into the restaurant for dinner. "We built a new section," Jo Ann Bass says, "which houses our Take Away, Stone Crabs, Inc. (the wholesale arm of the business), our own laundry, and more recently, the shipping department." Jo Ann oversaw the clean look of the operation; Jodi handled most of the details, from menu to layout, equipment, and procedure. All the popular items from the restaurant menu are available at the Take Away: stone crabs with mustard sauce or melted butter, hash brown potatoes or cottage fried sweets, creamed spinach, cole slaw, Key lime and apple pies. Its very clean and simple food. The Take Away also sells its own specialties: grilled chicken and fish sandwiches (big sellers); conch seviche; pasta, potato, and taboulleh salads; outstanding bread pudding. At lunchtime, customers are often from the film crews and photo shoots that now abound on South Beach. At dinner, they do a brisk business with customers who want to enjoy Joe's food at home. In December of 1987, USA Today called us; they included us in a Christmas story on mail-order foods. Up until then, we had little cooler boxes in which we'd pack crabs for people to take on an airplane; and once or twice a week, we'd ship crabs with Federal Express. After that article, our shipping business took off, and it hasn't stopped since." After having custom boxes designed (embalzoned with a big red crab, naturally), the shipping business recently expanded. Orders now come in from all over the country- from regular customers, from people who have heard of but never been to Joe's Stone Crab, from such celebrities as Quincy Jones, Ann-Margret, Senator Ted Kennedy, and Frank Sinatra.

Jessica in Take AwayJo Ann and Stephen  
 

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