Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille

Quite Contrary


Confidence and character can go a long way in some places. In sales, for example, or private contracting in Iraq, or waiting tables at a gay-friendly bar and restaurant. But in any of those fields, you’ve got to have the chops to back up the bravado. Take our server at the recently re-opened downtown burger joint Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille. Amid the toned-down decor—the original Mary’s was all about bright colors and high kitsch, but the new interior is sparse and almost conventional, save for “Hey, let’s hang our pictures all crooked!”–style quirks—we were greeted by a skinny young man with casual aplomb: “Hi, my name is [redacted]. What can I getchas?” Things went downhill from there. We started with the Phyllis Cheese Fries (fries, cheese, sour cream, bacon) and the Fillet-Me sliders. Their most distinctive characteristic? The nearly 30-minute wait for their arrival. For entrees, my wife ordered the Hawaii-Five-O Kahuna burger with pineapple and bacon, our vegetarian friend ordered a black bean burger, and I went for the Ike and Tuna tuna filet and a side of mashed potatoes. Our server arrived 15 minutes later, placed the two burgers on our table, and said, “Well, they forgot to tell me that we’re out of the tuna.” I bit my tongue and instead ordered the Mid-East Peace Kibee burger—a lamb and beef patty topped with house-made tabouli and hummus—which, incredibly, arrived at our table in less than three minutes. While my companion’s burgers were simply OK, mine was excellent. Fresh. Unexpectedly great. Which tells me that with a bit of focus (and training?) Hamburger Mary’s could do a lot better. C’mon, Mary!

Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille

911 Vine St., downtown
(513) 421-6279
Prices: $8–$18
Lunch and Dinner seven days


Originally published in the January 2010 issue.

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