By Molly Weeks Crumbley
“VOTE FOR ANNA, SERVER OF THE YEAR, WESTLAWNINN.COM,” reads the sign welcoming visitors to North Beach. The all-caps message is in support of Anna Courtney, longtime Westlawn Inn server who has been named a finalist in the prestigious Maryland Association of Restaurants Awards.
Westlawn Inn, a family-owned and operated restaurant in North Beach has been a fixture of fine dining and live music in Calvert County since opening its doors in 2004, and Courtney has, in turn, been a fixture there for the past decade.
Courtney found her way to Westlawn thanks to her older brother, Chris Higgs, who previously worked as the head chef. She began in the kitchen washing dishes for him in 2012, and her work ethic led Westlawn owners Lee and Jan Travers to hire her as a busser and later a server.
“At first, I came to the Westlawn to help my brother but ultimately I stayed because of how close knit we are as a restaurant,” she says. “I’m lucky to be able to call my coworkers friends. And the same goes for our regulars. They all make the shift not feel like work.”
Ten years later, and Courtney still loves working at Westlawn. “They poke fun at me sometimes for coming in even on my days off but I just enjoy spending time with them,” she says. “It’s been wonderful working for such incredibly caring and supportive people for all these years.”
When she’s not working or hanging out at the restaurant, she has a second job as a housekeeper and enjoys baking, DIY beauty care, and spending time with her friends and cats.
Westlawn Inn owner Jan Travers has nothing but praise for Courtney. “Anna is that worker that every business wants. She has always worked where and when we needed her. She does anything she sees needs doing—organizing, cleaning, re-supplying. As far as her table service—she is a consummate professional. She is outstanding at reading a table and knowing just how much attention a customer is looking for. She knows our business—both back and front of the house—fully.”
Travers adds that Courtney is often the staff’s go-to for helping customers with special dietary needs, as well as training new servers. “I know her competition is also likely wonderful servers, too,” says Travers, “but she brings so much to us it’s hard to imagine a better server.”
Courtney says she was surprised and excited when she found out that she was named one of the five finalists. “I never imagined having the amount of support from the town that we’ve gotten. It’s all very sweet and it feels nice to be appreciated.”
The Server of the Year winner will be announced at the Restaurant Association of Maryland Awards Gala on March 27. For tickets and information about the event, visit marylandrestaurants.com/gala. For more information about Westlawn Inn, visit them online at westlawninn.com or on Facebook @TheWestlawnInn.