Hello to all far and wide to another edition of Mastication Monologues. Today I am going to tell you all about an interesting hamburger place I went to in Andersonville that has a lot of a personality. It’s called Hamburger Mary’s, and it’s located at 5400 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60640. It’s a pretty modern part of town, and there is plenty of street parking which means that this eatery is quite easy to reach.
Now I already mentioned that this place has a lot of personality, but what exactly could that mean? Well, what I’m referring to is the fact that this place has a constant subtle nudge at sex at every turn. First, my then girlfriend at the time mentioned that they had cabaret and drag queen shows there every so often, so I was a bit wary about what I was getting myself into. However, when I arrived, it didn’t seem too offbeat from the outside. On the inside, it’s very kitschy in its choice of decor that ranges from their abnormally busty statue of their mascot, Mary, 1950s Americana items, and even the occasional rainbow flag to represent the large LGBT community on the north side of Chicago. Plus, there are various sexual puns throughout the actual menu like loaded ta-tas (tater tots with cheese), Chik’n Wangs (chicken wings in a southern accent), and the guacamole BJ (Bacon and Jack cheeseburger). Sexuality aside, I’m here to judge the food.
I went to this establishment two different times and got two different types of burgers. In general, I was impressed with how many different options you could have in terms of bun (gluten-free, brioche, wheat, or lettuce cups), meat (anything from blackbean patties to Wagyu beef), and sides. The first time I went there, I got the lamb gyro burger with a side of the tasty seasoned ta-tas. It was going to be interesting to see how they were going to transform one of my favorite Greek/drunk foods of all time into burger form, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was served as a lamb patty with onions, tomatoes, pita chips, and a typical Tzatziki sauce. The lamb was cooked just the way I liked it, and the vegetables were very fresh. As for the pita chips, they added a much welcomed texture change with their crunch enhanced by the (cool as a) cucumber sauce. With the seasoned ta-tas, they were basically tater tots that were seasoned with Hamburger Mary’s special blend of spices. Personally, these tater tots were pretty good but nothing mind-blowing. Overall, I’d give round one to the Gyro Burger since it’s Zeus sized flavor made the side look like a mere mortal.
The second time around, I decided to go with the Fiesta Burger which consisted of a beef patty stuffed with chorizo and spices, topped with pepper jack cheese, pico de gallo, chipotle ranch, and tortilla strips. I’d normally be happy with the stuffed beef patty alone, but this sandwich was a fiesta sin igual. The spices brought out the hotter bits of the cheese which normally didn’t happen with other similar Southwest burgers at other restaurants. These spicier tones and the flaming hot patty were then cooled by the homemade pico de gallo that was quite flavorful and chipotle filled. This is where I think the chipotle ranch wasn’t really that necessary. If one has chipotle already in their pico de gallo, then I think it’s kind of a waste to use it on the same burger. Given this opinion, I believe that the chipotle ranch did not make any sort of impact on my palate. The tortilla strips were in the same league as the pita chips on the gyro burger since they offset all of the chewier portions of the burger with a much-needed firmness like a strong shot of tequila reposado. As for my side, I got the bacon-potato salad which I was a bit wary about, but I think my love for all things bacon must have subconsciously influenced me when I was ordering. I should have listened to my head instead of my pork loving heart because I can only eat potato salad in small portions before it loses its appeal. However, I was pleasantly surprised since this side was one of the better potato salads I’ve had because it was creamy, had generous pieces of bacon lurking under its white mounds, and the potatoes were slightly firm but at the same time quite tender. Unfortunately, I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach because I was stuffed after finishing this side and the burger all in one sitting. Oh bacon, you greasy temptress! At the end of the meal, they gave us the check in a high heel which was an interesting touch, but just made me think that only in this place would this seem normal.
Overall, Hamburger Mary’s is a good burger place to go for a good time, but the only downside is that I think it’s slightly overpriced for the food. I think it’s just a way to counter the cost of offering so many different products for different types of eaters. Nevertheless, spend an afternoon with Mary and see that this girl next door is more than just a pretty face.