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ISO the Perfect Stone Crab Spot

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yes, I admit - a bit early to get excited but between planning flights, kids, family, job, etc....I'm already ISO the best spot for stone crab this year.

I grew up in Tampa and back in the day you could find a myriad of places all over FL that were serving stone crab on picnic benches - with no tools other than a wooden mallet and a pitcher of ice cold beer. Perfect Oct/Nov way to pass the week. Um, must have been a typo back there, i meant day, not week....really!

Problem is.....the last few years, the only place I've been able to find decent stone crab are at high-falutin' places with white table cloths - YUCK!!! Like I want to sit around in my designer clothes with crab juice/shell flying all over the place!! Don't get me wrong, white table cloths have their place, just not my idea of really enjoying stone crab. This is serious eating that requires tank tops and flip flops, at least in my mind.

I'm desperately in search of a "divey" kind of place with ice cold beer on tap, inappropriate music; preferably on a juke box, and as much stone crab as my visa, mastercard and amex can afford.

Don't care what city, I am just trying to find the "best" place to go based on my criteria.

Travel plans are wide open at this point and I'm counting on my fellow CH'ers to help guide me.

BTW - I don't' get many updates here in NC on the status of the stone crab season (imagine!). How are things looking this year? Yeah, i know, cost of gas is up - besides that anything that is affecting a good season besides the usual over fishing (or would that be over crabbing?!?)

thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. This is easy.
    Ballyhoo's, mile marker 97.8 in Key Largo. The restaurant is housed in a building from a 1930's era fish camp. Sounds like this may the kind of place you are looking for. Flipflops and tanks are the attire here.
    Fresh crabs in season (opens Oct. 15) are $30- for all you can eat! Impeccably fresh.
    Plenty of cold beer on tap. Fresh oysters at happy hour to for around $4/dozen.
    No jukebox, but hey, for all you can eat stones for $30- perhaps that small sacrifice will be worth it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: keysrat

      sounds like heaven! do they have a cot in the back room? ;-)

      1. re: chicaraleigh

        I'll have to try Ballyhoos.....Sounds great!......I'm still a big believer in Joe's on Miami Beach......They have a "Take Away" area that's for take-out orders and they have little tables there where you can take your goodies and eat them right there.....No snooty waiters or big tip.....It's not all you can eat....But I'm 6'7 and weigh 285lbs.....and an order of selects and the side goodies fill me up (chopped salad, garlic spinach, breads)....I don't know what it is....and I've eaten Stone Crabs at a bunch of different places....but they NEVER taste like the do at Joe's.....I think a lot of it has to do with the precise temperatures that they serve the claws at.....But they just don't taste the same as they do at Joe's.....For WHATEVER reason.....Will make a trip to Ballyhoos.....sounds like a fun time.....Can't wait for Stone Crab season....And here on the mainland....Joe's is KING.....

        EMac