Review: Hamburger Mary’s (Old Town)

Hamburger Mary’s
19 NW 5th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209
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Ph: 503-688-1200
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Lunch money: $$-$$$
Rating: ★★★★☆
My recent visit to Portland’s “new” Hamburger Mary’s was on a whim. I was meeting up with a friend and we hadn’t devised a lunch destination in advance. As we headed toward our planned meet up spot, he text suggested Mary’s.  I immediately agreed.

I had yet to visit the new version of this venerable eatery…and I hadn’t been to any other Hamburger Mary’s since the original Portland location closed in the ‘90s. Now the “new” Mary’s has been open for a full year…totally time for a visit!

The self-proclaimed “gayest” restaurant in town certainly has an expansive menu, but what else could you want from an establishment called Hamburger Mary’s other than a big, juicy hamburger? And the hamburger menu alone is fat with options. There are standard burgers and specialty burgers, but then you get to pick your meat (or meatless) patty options—they offer everything from vegan to black bean to buffalo to Kobe beef.

I went with the simple Mary Burger with cheddar cheese and tater tots on the side. My lunch buddy went with the Spicy Mary, which comes piled high with jalapenos, spicy Mojo sauce and blackening seasoning, and chose a side of fries.

I wasn’t truly prepared for the size of the burgers that soon landed on our table. Huge. Massive, in fact. I liked that each burger came with a extra large steak knife because a.) the heaping burgers are stuffed with toppings and b.) unless you are super-duper hungry, you’re probably going to have leftovers for later.

The burger verdict? The meat was juicy, the toppings were very fresh and the bun was, like, WOWZA! Seriously, the buns are amazing. Our server told us they are made locally daily and (*cringe*) made of 25 percent butter. So, so, so good.

Burgers just not your thing? The menu has pages and pages of delightful offerings. From the “appeteasers” to the “special-tease” to the wildly tempting dessert menu (a deep fried PB&J with bacon?!), there’s definitely something on the menu for everyone.

Finally, a high-heeled shoe delivered our bill at the end of our meal. Cute touch!

Hamburger Mary’s definitely serves up some of the best burgers in town—and in an environment that that is welcoming and open to everyone. Although it was pretty empty during our lunchtime visit, we know the place gets packed for happy hour and stays busy late into the night.

My only real complaint was that I felt I was spending more than I’d normally like to pay for a burger. My pretty basic burger was $9.25 and my friend’s Spicy Mary burger was $10.50. Most of the other items on the menu (appetizers, sandwiches, wings, salads) were almost all in the $9 to $15 range. So, it’s not the cheapest of meals, but the quality of the food was outstanding.

If you are looking to try a Mary’s burger at a budget-friendly price, I suggest checking out their happy hour. HH runs from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 3 p.m. to close on Sundays. During HH, food prices run as low as $2 to $5—that’s a great deal.

Hamburger Mary’s also has events (karaoke, bingo, trivia nights) and specials almost every day of the week, so be sure to check out the events page on their website for the latest information!

-One of the best burgers in town
-Lots of veggie and vegan options
-Right on the Green and Yellow MAX lines
-Bottomless mimosa brunch on Sundays
-Great happy hour specials

-A tad on the spendy side (at least for our wallet)
-Parking, especially on weekend evenings, is dreadful
-The neighborhood is a little sketchy at times

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