City Sliders Opens at Westlawn Inn

All photos by Krista Pfunder.

By Krista Pfunder

City Sliders at the Westlawn Inn has officially opened its doors on 7th Street in North Beach, in the former home of the Westlawn Inn restaurant. It is City Sliders’ second location after their original Georgetown venue. After attending the ribbon cutting for City Sliders last Friday, my date and I decided to have lunch there.  

Upon entering, I discovered that little has changed physically from the building’s life as Westlawn Inn. You still walk into a sitting/lobby area (the building started life as a guesthouse in the early 1900s) to approach the hostess stand. A cozy bar sits off to the left and the main dining area is through a doorway on the right. The big changes that jumped out are the new tables, chairs, and very, very bright lighting.

I was something of a regular at the Westlawn, enjoying dinner in the historic Arts & Crafts-style building a few nights a week — including the restaurant’s weekly cigar night. For years, a group of locals met one night a week to enjoy a few cigars and Scotch (or other beverage of choice) on the restaurant’s large wrap-around porch. Even though I’m not a cigar smoker, I was adopted by the group and would happily sit in on the discussions each week about politics and happenings in town. Following the cigars, the group would stay for an excellent meal prepared by Chef Jason Fletcher. 

It was hard to hear it was closing. Dinner and music at Westlawn had been a weekly ritual for my ex-husband and me. After my split, I began going alone. It is where I made a group of friends close to where I lived. Becoming part of the cigar night circle replaced my previous “dinner and music” ritual. In the very early days of the pandemic, Westlawn was where I’d pick up dinner to bring home. Seeing that it remained mostly the same was soothing.

City Sliders finally had its liquor license (that very day), so I started with a glass of J. de Villebois Sauvignon Blanc ($13), from the Loire Valley in France. It was rich, flavorful, and citrusy. My lunch date had a Shocktop draft beer ($8). He said it was a little too light of a beer for him, so ordered a Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager ($8) on draft and was happier with that choice.

The menu features a variety of sliders —small hot sandwiches served on a house-made brioche bun. Options include bison, salmon, brisket, pork, lamb, and duck, as well as the standard hamburger and cheeseburger. A vegetarian and vegan portion of the menu features cauliflower steak, quinoa, and black bean burger, and a vegan banh mi. They also have a variety of salads.

Diners are greeted with two options when ordering the sliders: One price for a single slider with no sides (can be added a la carte) or as an entrée, which gets you two sliders and a side of fries (options include truffle and herb, garlic and herb, regular, or sweet potato).

Buffalo Chicken Sliders.

I chose the Buffalo Chicken entree ($16), which included two sliders—each with a piece of fried chicken, bleu cheese, and buffalo sauce—and a side of fries. The sliders were small, but there was plenty of food for me. I would describe the Buffalo sauce as medium heat (perfect) and while I prefer ranch to blue cheese, the combo was great. The “Regular” fries were cooked to a perfect level of crispiness. They reminded me a bit of the flavor in Thrasher’s Fries from Ocean City (I know…that is a bold claim).

My date had a Crispy Cod slider ($6.99) and a Crab Cake Slider ($8.99). He also ordered a side of Garlic & Herb Fries ($6.96). The wild cod featured organic greens, tomato, and house tartar sauce on the small bun. It was tasty and my date said he preferred it to the Bison Slider he had ordered there earlier in the week.  

Crispy Cod Slider (left) and the Crab Cake Slider.

The crabcake slider is described as a Maryland crabcake with organic lettuce and a tarragon aioli sauce. My date very much enjoyed it. Since he is not a Marylander, I questioned his ability to judge a good crabcake from a bad one, so I took a bite myself. I will admit it was pretty yummy. His Garlic & Herb Fries were sprinkled with herbs but I couldn’t tell too much of a difference in taste from my fries.

Brownie à la Mode

For dessert, we split the Brownie à la Mode ($8). A homemade chocolate chip brownie was served with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. I had forgotten how much the addition of chocolate chips can improve a brownie and this version did not disappoint. 

I certainly would recommend City Sliders; I’m meeting a few other past Westlawn regulars there this week to grab a meal while sitting at the bar. It’s a great spot to order a few sliders to munch on while you stroll along the North Beach Boardwalk. It’s also a solid lunch choice. 

Our wonderful server Lauren told us that they are about to start serving brunch and she gave us a sneak peek at the menu, which includes croissants, scones, house-made chicken sausage, and house-made biscuits with jam. Sounds like it will soon also be a solid Sunday brunch choice.

One of the members of the cigar night group — Dom Raino — passed away at the age of 83 last month. He will be missed.