Hamburger Mary's, the legendary LGBT- and drag-friendly chain of eateries that serve burgers with a side of sass, wants to remind customers that it's a place for "open-minded people, a place where everyone is welcome and diversity is celebrated," according to Ashley Wright, co-owner of the Chicago and Milwaukee franchises and co-owner of the master franchise brand.
"Mary's is adding her voice to the increasing number of campaigns to counter Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's controversial public stance against marriage equality," he says, "by offering a Aouthern-style chicken sandwich while advocating diversity."
Hamburger Mary's new "hate-free" southern-style chicken sandwich starts with a fresh chicken breast, marinated and battered with Mary's secret recipe flour and spice mixture. It's then deep-fried and served with herb mayo and dill pickles on a bakery-fresh bun. A portion of money from sales of the chicken sandwiches will be donated to support pro-equality efforts.
The original Hamburger Mary's in San Francisco was started in the 1970s by a group of gay hippies who wanted to open a gay-owned, people-friendly gathering spot where everyone was welcome -- and they did so with only $500.
"We were extremely poor," says Bob Charles, the last surviving founder of Mary's. "We were living on food stamps, SSI, and peace and love. But we had some drug-induced fantasies of owning our own 'anti-establishment' bar/restaurant, run on our own relaxed and laid-back agenda."
Today there are 12 Hamburger Mary's locations in the U.S.
In addition to serving burgers and other guilty pleasures (including deep-fried Twinkies and Mary Tyler S'Mores), it's become many communities' go-to place for drag queen charity bingo, drag shows, and queerioke (that's LGBT-friendly karaoke, which the company calls Mary'Oke).