Gotta Have the Key Lime Pie Too ….

It takes a lot to make the Insider pause when doing the NSI quiz. But when Brian Johnson, the GM of Miami’s legendary restaurant, Joe’s Stone Crab, remarked he had been with the restaurant for 39 years, I couldn’t help looking up from my pad and give a wha??? Not that I’m jaded, but most restaurant workers can barely last five years at a place without the itch to move on. “What can I say, I love this place. Started as a waiter and have been the GM for the last 20 years.”

While having a fine chat with Brian at one of Joe’s bars, I didn’t even realize that the owner, the restaurant’s 4th generation, Steven Sawitz, was sitting right next to me on my left. Guess he doesn’t have to be in the spotlight as he left Brian to handle the publicity chores.

Another thing I really appreciated was Brian’s recommendation to sample Joe’s key lime pie. While the Insider isn’t crazy about dessert, I often find they’re like a badly made wine, too cloying and sweet. But that key lime pie was soooo good! Excellent crumble crust, perfectly tart lime filling and topped with just the right sweetness of whipped cream on top. Yum!! But that was after Brian did the NSI quiz. Enjoy!!

Last night’s dinner?Went out to a place with my son. I had the swordfish and asparagus. Fish was good but they screwed up the asparagus, which is hard to do, but they managed it.

Favorite drink? Pinot Noir, with a lean to the lighter styles.

Favorite music?Van Morrison style.

Favorite Miami dining spot, besides Joe’s? I bounce around, always looking for something good, but I haven’t been going out much in the last year since my wife passed.

Any brush with celebrity?Oh we get tons in here. But we treat everyone the same. The Rolling Stones booked the place for themselves and their crew when they played Cuba. Peyton Manning is a nice guy and always stops by when he’s in town and his wife is a really great lady as well.

Any wine, restaurant or place on your bucket list? My wife and I got to go northern Italy and sample the wines which was a terrific experience. I hope to go to Provence next year and sample the rosés.

What makes a great restaurant?Everything starts with the food. If you don’t have the food, you’re dead no matter what you do. But after that, you go to deliver on service and atmosphere. You do those three and you’re home free.

Final thoughts? I’m wide open for whatever comes. It’s been a great 39 years and it just keeps getting better here.