Update: Hamburger Mary's opened February 9!
In the coming month, Houston will open the doors to the first Hamburger Mary’s to hit the Lone Star State in many years. Located in the heart of Montrose, 2409 Grant St., the LGBT-friendly restaurant will offer fabulous family dining and will also serve as a bar/entertainment venue at night.
The original Hamburger Mary’s opened in San Francisco in 1972 as “an open-air bar and grille for open minded people.” The free-loving concept became such a hit it is still their motto to this very day. The sassy combination of food, drinks and entertainment expanded into a chain across America, while becoming a legendary location for the LGBT. Boardwalk Investment Group loved the kitschy idea so much, they’ve tried since 2004 to bring a Hamburger Mary’s to Houston. We spoke to Mark De Lange to learn more about the restaurant and how they are putting a Texas twist on this iconic eatery.
What really stuck out about Hamburger Mary’s that made you stick with the idea so long?
The oldest gay brand still in continuous operation is Eagle, and the second is Hamburger Mary’s. The Eagle started in 1970, and Hamburger Mary’s was in 1972. It has such a rich history as well. In recent years, the chain went through a management change that really appealed to us. They totally understood the anomaly that is “Mary” and what we wanted to do.
How do you force operating the Houston Hamburger Mary’s?
We love this it is family dining. Then after 9 or 10 and there will be DJs that come on, the tables will move out of the way and it will be a bar. We will still serve food though. The aspect we are excited about, and we are about 90% there, is that we will stay open until 5 a.m. and start breakfast service at 2 a.m.
As a nice way to wind down the night.
Right, that last thing we want is for people to drive after a night of drinking so they will be able to just walk over there and eat. And the breakfast thing is not something common in the Hamburger Mary’s chain so it will be an extra thing for Houston.
Since not ever Hamburger Mary’s is the same, how will you tailor the restaurant to the Houston crowd?
Well there are certain core items that will stay on the menu as well as keeping entertainment a huge component. We have several different shows like the Dining With The Divas show, an Allusions show and then our Sunday brunch will be a Broadway Brunch. The dinner shows are like a theater — everyone is seated at once — and you will get a full-on production as you eat. With that, we are able to hire Houston talent to produce, star, etc.
Will there be any special items tailored for Houston?
We will definitely have Tex-Mex items. Also, we are working in flatbread options. The flatbreads will be amazing and I named them all after the The Golden Girls: The Sophia pizza will be a pepperoni one, wild Blanche will be Hawaiian, Italian Dorothy will be pesto, and Northern Rose will be cheese.
Well, thank you for being a friend.
That is what we love about Hamburger Mary’s; it is unique. We don’t have to follow the typical restaurant or bar model. It is for everybody. It is for the whole community and I hope it acts as a unifier for everybody.
Job applications can be picked up at the Eagle and be sure to keep up Hamburger Mary’s on Facebook.