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Hamburger Mary's back in town

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The legendary Hamburger Mary’s is headed back to Portland and sparking a fury of excitement, especially from the gay community that remembers the flamboyant and popular burger joint from years past. The franchise announced it's planning to make the Rose City its 11th outlet, but has kept the location under wraps while negotiating a lease.

Mary and the team are keeping the devoted on their toes through coy announcements to its Facebook following of 600 Portland fans. Numerous calls and emails to Hamburger Mary's elicited only a vague reply via email that said, "We will have more to say very soon."


It was originally reported by Portland food blogger Byron Beck that the new location would be near the Burnside triangle, but Beck's latest dish is that Mary’s will take over the spot left behind when McCormick & Schmick’s moved last summer. Details have yet to be confirmed.

Mary’s, which was started in 1972 in the Castro district of San Francisco, claims to be the only national franchise with a concept specifically marketed toward gays and lesbians. Mary's first opened its doors in Portland in the '70s where the Regal Fox Cinema Towers now sits; it moved location once before closing in the 1990s. Mary’s has a history of opening and closing restaurants around the country but the franchise has experienced a resurgence since being bought in 2007 by brothers Ashley and Brandon Wright of Chicago and Dale Warner of West Hollywood, Calif.

Mary's promises that its Portland location will have the eclectic, loud charm of the original and of course carry favorite menu items such as  “Buffy the Burger Slayer” and deep-fried Twinkies. Events such as Bingo and drag shows separate Mary's from the usual burger-and-fries spot.

Across the country each of the locations features a bar and restaurant, but vary in decor and style. The Chicago location has its own home brewery and sports bar while the Kansas City location has a rooftop deck.

Enthusiasts are ready to see the country-and-western themed bar return to its old stomping grounds. We'll have to wait and see if this time Mary's is here to stay.

Jessica Hoch is the online reporter for Oregon Business.



Janell Haws
0 #1 Such amazing news!Janell Haws 2010-07-28 13:09:54
I moved to PDX at the tail end of the last Mary's tenure, though I fully enjoyed my experience every time. Since then I have been to nearly all the Mary's when I travel for business. Chicago and Kansas City being my favorite locations. I wonder, will the chefs from the Chicago and KC locations have a helping hand in PDX? I certainly hope so, the vegan falafel burger in KC was one of the best things I have eaten all year and I am a consummate carnivore. It will be so exciting to have a Mary's in the town in which I live instead of having to rely on work travels to get my fix!
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0 #2 Eat, drink and be MARYjonnygraphic 2010-07-28 13:34:53
I have such great memories from the Long Beach and West Hollywood MARY's locations in Southern California. Having just relocated to Portland, I couldn't be more excited about the Portland MARY's news. Over the years MARY's has been a FABULOUS place for all of us gay guys and gals, and our "gay-friendly" straight friends, to celebrate diversity, laughter and good times. The burgers are yummy and the cocktails are even better. So I say "Eat, drink and be MARY!"
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Jessica Hoch
0 #3 Update on Hamburger Mary's Portland locationJessica Hoch 2010-07-29 09:18:36
Hamburger Mary's this morning said "the cat's out of the bag" and sent us a link to Portland food blog PDX.Eater.com. The post reported that Mary's will move into the space formerly occupied by Pasha Restaurant and Lounge in Old Town, adding that the location is complete with a 300-square-foot dance floor and 150-plus seating capacity. Mary's kept the location tightly under wraps for weeks with only coy leaks of information to its Facebook followers. According to the liquor license application, the owners plan for "drag queen performances" as well as karaoke, DJ music and dancing.
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