Today I embarked on an ill-advised adventure, cramming myself full of well prepared beef patties and exceptional french [freedom] fries. Well… I guess it could have been more insane, but still, it was a lot of meat for one day.
I had heard tell of Hamburger Mary’s wide variety of hamburger choices and wacky toppings, such as macaroni and cheese, or ketchup (who comes up with this stuff??), and wanted to check it out. It just so happened we were in Ybor tonight for a movie at Muvico (right next to Hamburger Mary’s in Centro Ybor), and we had some time to kill, so we popped in to give it a try. Unfortunately, it was packed. Apparently, it’s a pretty hot spot on Saturday nights. Luckily, though, we were able to get a table! But this is not normal… if you plan on going, call ahead and make a reservation.
The inside of the restaurant was chaotic and noisy; for a moment, I thought we were in a club. But I was wrong… it’s just a pretty lively place (and they have a full bar, and there was a drag show… so it kind of was a club, with BURGERS). In spite of its loud atmosphere, it wasn’t a really annoying environment, I just wouldn’t recommend going unless you’re in the mood for that sort of thing.
I was pretty overwhelmed by all the burger options on the menu. The “Sloppy Mary” featured chili, cheese and onions (chili on a burger is something everyone needs to at least try). A spicy burger had some sort of mojo sauce on it, jalepeños, and pepper jack cheese, which sounded incredible. The “Buffy the Hamburger Slayer” had a patty with garlic cloves and red wine(!), with Swiss cheese and caesar dressing, which is at the very least a unique burger recipe. I settled on the “Proud Mary”, a full pound of beef with grilled onions, mushrooms, a slice of pineapple, pickles, lettuce, tomato, 1000 island dressing, bacon, and jack and cheddar cheeses.
Before I get into the burger, let me just start out by saying that the fries were great. They were extra-crispy, large enough to get a good potato taste, and somewhat sweet on the outside. Definitely a unique french fry. But of course the burger dominated my attention – it was colossal. And it was exploding out from every side. And I love a messy burger. I lost a lot of toppings due to this, but I wasn’t above picking them up and putting them back on the burger as I ate. [Note: I don’t go into eating situations intending to hold onto my dignity.]
The flavor was amazing. The main attraction were the toppings – except for maybe the lettuce, they were all superb. Crisp pickles. Mushrooms and onions are always great additions to any burger. The incredible blob of cheese was largely responsible for the messiness. I could have done with more dressing, but there was mustard and ketchup on the table if you need any more condiments. Nice wide strips of flavorful bacon. The pineapple added a whole different element to the burger. Its brisk sweetness provided a refreshing counterpoint to the heaviness of the cheeses and grilled items (not to mention the HUGE amount of meat). I would actually suggest getting extra pineapple, because it was gone pretty quickly, and there was a lot of meat to get through. In fact, the beef patties are my only honest issue with this burger; there was just too much meat! I was struggling to distribute the toppings in such a fashion as to maintain pretty complete coverage. But I think when your only big complaint with any food is that there’s too much to deal with, then you’re in a good place. Oh and my meat was a little over done. I asked for medium rare and I got something more like medium, or medium well even. This may have been to ensure complete cooking of these huge patties, but if you want rarer meat, maybe you should order a step below what you’re aiming for (and let’s be honest – a little undercooked meat never hurt anyone).
So my opinion on Hamburger Mary’s? Go there. It’s a fun place, and a great deal too (I just barely spent more money there than at Five Guys, and I got a huge burger… my friend actually spent less here). AND THEY HAVE A BAR! AND DRAG QUEENS! Check it out.