Archive for the ‘Tampa’ Category

“There’s Something About Mary”… in Tampa!

February 3rd, 2010 | Posted in Tampa |


The following article appeared in the tbt section of The St. Petersburg Times on February 3, 2010.  To read the entire article/review, visit

Tampa Mayor Pam Lorio joins Mary and the gang at the official Grand Opening January 19, 2010.

Hamburger Mary’s was the rebuttal to the fern bars of the late 1970′s and early 80′s.  Born in San Fransisco, it was gay-friendly, divey and free-spirited.  At Mary’s, ruby slippers were planters, baby bottles served as coffee reamers and lots of people with suspiciously big feet dressed as women.  It was a cross-dressing and gay hangout in which straight folk felt just fine, a late-night destination where a messy burger and slightly sodden fries were the inevitable capper to carousing.

There never was a Mary, but in the 1990s her cheeky concept was franchised…  Tampa’s Centro Ybor got one in December, then shambling 240-seat burger emporium settling into the space once occupied by Dish.  Managing partner Mike Higgins has hit the ground running, with female impersonator shows on Saturday night, “Maryoke” on Tuesdays and charity bingo gearing up on Wednesdays.  The check comes in a red stiletto, the fried Twinkies and tabletop s’mores are a hoot, the soundtrack an eye-rolling trip down 1970s memory lane.

The basic burger is a half-pound Mary ($9, $9.50 with cheese), but things get zestier with the Buffy the Hamburger Slayer ($9.75) – pierced with garlic cloves and doused in red wine – or the Queen Mary Burger ($9.75) with its grilled onions, bacon strips and a slather of Thousand Island.  They all come on a bun that needs a stiffer upper lip (and lower), but with frilly-green leaf lettuce and rounds of real-tasting tomato.  Choose your side, with special props going to the sweet potato fries and onion rings (those are $1 additional), seasoned fries or crisp, sweet coleslaw.

A half-pound burger and fries don’t leave lots of room for appetizers, but if you can manage, an order of jalapeño poppers stuffed with cream cheese ($7)or a San Fran Shanghai salad ($10.50) make for nice shared nibbles, the latter a peculiar but satisfying assemblage of chicken, mandarins, strawberries, radish sprouts, greens and crunchy wonton strips in a perky soy-ginger-sesame dressing.

A full array of cocktails (gay innuendo names!) and beers and wines offered at fair prices (bottles of wine between $24.50 and $31) peg Hamburger Mary’s as a whoop-it-up kind of place.  That’s a feeling cemented by Mary Tyler S’Mores ($7.50), a huge metal rack outfitted with an open flame and slots for marshmallows, graham crackers and whole Hershey bars.  Bringing out the Girl Scout in everybody, it’s a kooky DIY dessert that can’t help but make you Mary.

Hamburger Mary’s to open new location in Tampa’s historic Ybor City

August 18th, 2009 | Posted in Tampa |

TAMPA, August 18, 2009 — Hamburger Mary’s International announced today that a new Hamburger Mary’s Bar and Grille will be opening in Tampa. The restaurant with a flamboyant dining experience will be opening this fall in the Centro Ybor complex, centrally located in Tampa’s historic Ybor City district on 7th Avenue, convenient to I-4 and Hwy 60.

A culmination of months of research into the right location, the investment in the over 200 seat dining space is an exciting step for the local Hamburger Mary’s Tampa franchisee group, consisting of 4 long-time Tampa residents and community business leaders. “We are thrilled to be opening our restaurant in this Tampa location,” stated Michael Higgins, managing partner for the local group. “We chose this location carefully because of the rebirth of the Ybor district, its accessibility to all Tampa Bay residents and the new Ybor customer comprised of locals and visitors alike, both singles and families, who desire delicious fresh food choices, paired with friendly service in a fun atmosphere.” Not only will the opening bring a new option to Ybor City diners, but the local economy will also get a boost with the addition of approximately 30 new jobs.

Hamburger Mary’s Bar and Grille Tampa will be open for lunch and dinner, with a full-service bar serving up a variety of cocktails and what Michael Higgins claims will be the “best Bloody Mary in town.” Featuring late-night entertainment such as karaoke, bingo and specialty cabaret-style shows, the Tampa location will also offer an open-air patio overlooking 7th Avenue in the center of Ybor City.

With construction and renovation currently underway, Hamburger Mary’s Tampa is set to open in early Fall, with a specific Grand Opening date to come.