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Hamburger Mary’s to close after 14 years in Andersonville, seek new location after coronavirus – Block Club Chicago




ANDERSONVILLE Hamburger Mary’s will close in Andersonville soon, but the iconic LGBTQ-friendly chain could return to a new location after the coronavirus pandemic.

The restaurant known for its drag shows will have its last day of operation on November 1, co-owner Ashley Wright said.

Hamburger Mary’s at 5400 N. Clark went on sale last year. Brothers and co-owners Ashley and Brandon Wright said at the time the company was looking to relocate elsewhere, citing rising costs in Andersonville.

That timeline has been sped up by the coronavirus pandemic, Ashley Wright said.

Hamburger Mary’s lease expires in December. The owners were considering looking for a new location, but said they would abandon those plans until spring, when the pandemic hopefully subsided.

“I don’t want to open a new location in January during a pandemic,” Wright said. “It’s sad that we don’t have this seamless transition.”

Apple Brown Betty poses for a photo with patrons at Hamburger Mary’s. Balmoral Avenue near Clark Street is closed to traffic for expanded alfresco dining for Replay, Hamburger Mary’s and Vincent restaurants in the Andersonville neighborhood on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
Colin Boyle / Block Club Chicago

Hamburger Mary’s will close after nearly 15 years in Andersonville, despite its best efforts to endure the pandemic.

During the early days of the pandemic, Hamburger Mary’s made its drag queen drive-thru debut. The promotion allowed its performers and servers to deliver food for curbside pickup at a time when most of the servers were out of work.

In June, Hamburger Mary’s was one of three Andersonville restaurants to participate in the expanded outdoor dining program. Hamburger Mary shared a closed Balmoral Avenue with Replay.

“The enlarged exterior seats have definitely been a boost this summer,” Wright said. “I’m not sure we will survive the summer without it.”

The closure will leave the Chicago area without a Hamburger Mary location. The national chain’s Oak Park spot closed permanently in June, according to its Facebook page.

The Wright Brothers shut down their brewery, Andersonville Brewing, after 10 years late last year.

Mary’s Attic, the nightclub addition to Hamburger Mary’s, will also close permanently. The business has not reopened since the pandemic struck.

“Acquiring so much real estate in Andersonville was expensive,” Wright said.

Hamburger Mary’s provided drag queen drive-thru during the pandemic.
Courtesy of Hamburger Mary’s

When it comes time to look for a new location after Covid-19, Wright said he was unsure whether the business would return to Andersonville. The neighborhood’s expense, as well as its size, makes space available and affordable to few, Wright said.

Hamburger Mary’s opened in June 2006 on Clark Street, preceding a number of popular neighborhood restaurants.

“The neighborhood meant a lot to us,” Wright said. “Were sad.”

Hamburger Mary’s is the sixth Andersonville Clark Street business to close since the pandemic, and Mary’s Attic is the seventh.

Last week, the Crossroads thrift store closed at 5127 N. Clark St.

The Martha Mae art supply store, 5407 N. Clark St., closed at the end of August to go digital. The upscale Passerotto restaurant closed at 5420 N. Clark St. shortly thereafter.

Candyality closed her shop at Clark and Farragut at the end of September. Another national chain, Hair Cuttery, closed its Clark Street establishment in June after filing for bankruptcy. A new hairdressing salon has since taken its place.

Hamburger Mary’s will be open daily until November 1.

Read all of the Block Club coverage on businesses closed due to the coronavirus.

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