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It’s the time you've been waiting for!

Once a year those delicious stone crabs are ready and there are only a handful of restaurants in southern Pinellas County where you can dine on these delicious beauties. PJ’s Oyster Bar in St. Pete Beach is one of them. Come join us for our stone crab fest!

Stone crab season runs this year from October 15th to May 15th and it's an extra special one. Last year stone crab season was marred by red tide and the numbers were lower than expected. Natural resource experts are optimistic that this season will be a good one.

That means you can enjoy these succulent crustaceans with us.

What We Love About Stone Crabs: Sustainability and Great Taste

Stone crabs are valued for many reasons such as taste and sustainability. One of the unique things about stone crabbing is that only the claw is harvested and the crab itself is thrown back into the briny depths. The crab will then grow another claw in about a year or two. This helps make stone crabs or “stonies” one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world.

They are also a Florida favorite that the entire country enjoys. In fact, 98% of the stone crabs served in the US come from the waters off of the Sunshine State and over 90% of that number comes from the Gulf coast. Everglades City claims to be the birthplace of the stone crab industry but 2018 saw a lot more stone crabs along the coast of Pasco and Hernando counties. Hurricane Michael and the red tide negatively impacted the panhandle and southern stone crab areas.

Here in the Tampa Bay area, we get most of our stone crabs from the waters off Dunedin through the Crystal River area. This was particularly helpful last year because the Hudson to Crystal River area was booming with stone crab. Experts think this is likely to happen again, which means our Pinellas County restaurant will have some of the freshest, juiciest stone crab available.

Florida stone crabs have a delicate, flaky white to off-white meat and a slight sweetness. Some people call the taste a blend between snow crab and lobster. Stone crab claws have a shelf life of only 3-5 days so that means when you're dining with us you are eating something that was plucked straight out of the Gulf just a few days prior.

Most people choose to eat stone crab claws cold is it brings out their best flavor. We even crack them for you to make it super easy to get to that delicious meat. However, dipping them in melted butter is another way to enjoy them. Who can resist melted butter?

Yes, stone crabs are a treat we all look forward to and this year is going to be a good one. Don’t wander around south Pinellas looking for these delicious treats. There are only a handful of restaurants that offer them and PJ’s Oyster Bar in St. Pete Beach has some of the best. Come in and taste them for yourself. We’re serving up plenty at our inaugural crab fest. Won’t you join us?

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