Off the Beaten Plate: Maryland Crab Cake Sliders at R Bar & Patio

Maryland crab cake sliders at R Bar & Patio, 610 Florida St.

Maryland crab cake sliders at R Bar & Patio, 610 Florida St. by Joanna Hlavacek

It’s not every bar that prides itself on not owning a fryer. But R Bar, which launched its new — and first-ever — menu of classic tavern eats with a fresh, modern twist about a month ago, isn’t every bar.

The unassuming location adjacent to a non-operating gas station serves more conventional stuff like chicken wings and a “classic American” hamburger slider, but the dish that’s drawn the most attention might be the Maryland crab cake sliders.

Inspired by chef and R Bar co-owner Brian Reeves’ stint in The Old Line State (yes, that’s apparently the official nickname of Maryland), the patties are made with crab meat and “just enough other stuff to hold them together,” R Bar’s menu teases, then grilled — not fried — in lemon butter.

What makes these little guys even more unusual: they’re not just crab cakes, but sliders nestled into miniature buns with lettuce, tomato and Old Bay tartar sauce — they just wouldn’t be Maryland crab cakes without Old Bay, Reeves says.

Where to get it: R Bar, 610 Florida St.

What you'll pay: $9 for three sliders, $16 for six and $28 for 12

Try it with: R Bar doesn't serve typical sides (no fryer means no french fries, pub chips or the like) but bartender Haley Martin likes her crab cakes with veggie skewers — they pretty much act as a side at R Bar, she says.

Also on the menu: Wings (available in buffalo, "facemelters!" and naked), a few more sliders (Southwest Shredded Chicken and Asian Pulled Pork), and the aforementioned skewers, which also include the intriguing bacon and cinnamon apple.

— Off The Beaten Plate highlights some of the more exotic, oddly named or inventively concocted dishes from local menus. Know of an offbeat item we should check out? Email reporter Joanna Hlavacek at Follow her at Check back weekly and monthly, respectively, for more Off the Beaten Plate and Lawrence Libations.


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