First Fridays with Fries: Hamburger Mary's

Thirty-six years ago, Hamburger Mary's opened its doors in a predominantly gay section of San Francisco. Attention was paid to the soundtrack and the cleverly written menu, which features hefty, two-fisted burgers. There are now seven locations around the country, one of which is in Andersonville. Barbara, Cher and Judy Garland would be proud.

You could say the burgers are bodacious at Hamburger Mary's, where every plate, it seems, arrives with a side order of 'schtick.'

"Definitely, kind of a hang out for the post-Will and Grace generation. It's definitely got a lot of gay clientele, but it's a place you can bring your straight friends and families come all the time too," said Hamburger Mary's Ashley Wright.

Every burger begins the same, with a half-pound of Angus beef on the grill. Turkey and chicken are two healthier options. Buns come from Gonella, and are lightly toasted, always a plus.

"They make a special bun for us called the Mary bun, and it's a true brioche bun, and it just makes the burger taste great," Wright said.

The Barbra-Q bacon cheeseburger features a thick-and-sweet barbeque sauce, plus bacon, onion rings, and a combo of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses.

The Big Kahuna Hawaiian burger also available with chicken. It contains grilled pineapple, bacon and cheese, plus a sweet teriyaki glaze.

Every burger arrives with a sharp knife impaled into the center; you'll need it to cut them in half. And while most burgers cost ten bucks, smaller appetites can opt for the mini-Mary's, at just a $1.50 each.

Mary does like to imbibe. So, you can pair a Bloody Mary or a beer with your burger. Kids might be better off with a thick chocolate shake.

Wright says the food matches the atmosphere: fun, laid back, and not-too-serious.

"Mary is a fun girl. and she likes a little kitsch, and you can definitely see it in the restaurant, in the decor and also in the menu," Wright said.

And Mary sure works a lot. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. everyday with brunch on the weekends.

Hamburger Mary's

5400 N Clark St


Other places featured so far in "First Friday with Fries" series:

Epic Burger

517 S. State St.


The Counter

666 W. Diversey Pkwy.


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