Ed Witte, Maitre d’ of Joe’s Stone Crab
Why he’s Food 50: For 25 years, he’s been the gatekeeper to one of the top restaurants in America.
Miami restaurants get a bad rap for customer service. Ed Witte knows this. And it’s why he tries to ensure that every local, tourist and snowbird experiences outstanding hospitality at Joe’s Stone Crab. “You have to treat every customer like they’re your best customer, because every customer has the potential to be your best customer,” he says. “At Joe’s we strive to make sure that every time someone comes in, whether it’s their first time or their 10th time or their 100th, they’re going to be taken care of with excellent food and service.”
As a 20-year-old on summer break from Rutgers University in New Jersey, Witte came to Miami in 1991 to visit his dad, applied for a job at Joe’s, and never returned north. Now, he’s the tuxedoed figure who greets guests at the host podium, tells them how long their wait will be, and calls their names when it’s time to be seated. “The best is seeing smiles on people’s faces as they leave,” Witte says. “The great thing about Joe’s is, so many different generations have come through here. I’m taking care of customers this season whose grandparents used to be regulars.”
Where to find him: Joe’s Stone Crab, 11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-0365