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.
5400 N Clark St
Other places featured so far in "First Friday with Fries" series:
517 S. State St.
666 W. Diversey Pkwy.