Clawing your way back

I’ve worked at Joe’s in Chicago for almost ten years now. It’s not a Joe’s Crab shack thank you very much. It’s Joe’s Seafood, Prime steaks and Stone Crab. To put it in simple terms, “We are the shit!” Seriously we are one of the highest grossing restaurants in the nation, we are in a triple A prime location, the food is awesome, the staff is fantastic and the flagship item, stone crab, is mind bogglingly good. On return from my vacations I am always reminded what an amazing honor it is to work in a place that is so special and where you are so appreciated. How lucky am I?

Each year in mid October we welcome back the first harvest of the new season, I treat myself to a plate full of large claws and marvel at the simplicity and deliciousness of theses delicacies…and then I pretty much never have them again until next year. I’m not sure why. It’s just kind of my ultimate exercise in “absence makes the heart grow fonder” I guess. As a Maitre d’ I get a free shift meal everyday. These precious claws are at my disposal every day of the year. When I first started working at Joe’s I took them home for dinner almost weekly. I could totally get to the point where I just flat out take them for granted, but I don’t want to. So I do my best to make them a treat.

Last month one of our most senior servers left to pursue other options. To me it was a devastating loss. This server had been with us from day one, through thick and thin. He literally reeked of our most precious commodity – Joe’s culture. That being said, I understood. Everyone needs a fresh start every now and again. Well it seems that after a month that those “other options” weren’t as attractive as once thought, and today he came back to work at Joe’s Seafood, Prime steaks and Stone Crabs. I told him, “It takes a lot of courage to stand your world on it’s head and walk away from the safety net of a sure thing. It takes even more courage to realize that it was a mistake and change your mind.”

So this year I welcome back a new harvest of precious claws AND an old friend. It’s another great year and a little absence has once again made the taste of the claws a little sweeter, the grass look a little bit greener, and the heart a good bit fonder.

Welcome home!

About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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