When the White Castle on Metropolitan Avenue closed in order to make way for a luxury apartment complex, it attracted graffiti that read “RIP LATE NIGHT SLIDERS.” Four years later, it might be time to stop mourning. On Monday, sliders returned to the corner of Metropolitan and Humboldt, as Easy Lover soft opened in the former home of Legion Bar.
The sliders aren’t just a coincidence. “When I first moved to Brooklyn 10 years ago I was all about the White Castle that used to be across the street,” Aaron Koen, who owns the bar with Lane Lacolla, told us. “I was crushed when it was torn down and when we started planning Easy Lover I knew was gonna have sliders on the menu.”
While Koen and Lacolla were revamping the Legion Bar space, Koen was incapacitated for four months by an infection from an antibiotic. “It was horrible and when we chose our ingredients, I made sure all the meat was antibiotic free,” Koen said. Chef Ed Sandoval, formally co-owner of Prospect Heights’ Tygershark, is using beef from The Meat Hook (and caramelized onions, naturally). There are pork belly, chicken breast, beet, and mushroom sliders, as well.
At Monday’s soft opening, the bar’s look was described by Vanessa Follano– a friend of the owners who just launched a Bushwick location of her own burger joint, Blue Collar— as “a nod to the Williamsburg I knew in back in my 20s that will also cater to the cool kids of today.” Legion Bar’s wood paneling has been painted white and the skinny booths, which made Legion a popular make-out spot, have been widened to accommodate large groups. Towards the rear, both the red phone booth and the back-room stage have been removed with the aim of making Easy Lover more of a low-key lounge. Russ Cowen, a guest at Monday’s soft opening, described the vibe as “more buttoned up and more comfortable.”