Each week we are featuring a new restaurant as part of “Cash Mob MKE,” an initiative created to give Milwaukee restaurants a boost during these tough times. Click here for a delectable repast of everything we’ve ordered (maybe inspiration for your next carry-out meal).Hamburger Mary’s
730 S. 5th St., (414) 488-2555
[More on today’s cash mob here]
I wish I could say otherwise. But the pandemic has been (and continues to be) a tough time for local restaurants. Among them is Hamburger Mary’s, which has understandably struggled to support its staff of servers, bartenders and drag performers. So it’s a perfect time to drop some bigtime love on this fun, inclusive venue that’s become a beloved Milwaukee staple.
Known for their namesake burgers – which are hefty, juicy and cooked to order – Hamburger Mary’s also serves up a menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and wraps, all available for dine-in or take-out.
This week, we ordered up a small cadre of items from Hamburger Mary’s in anticipation of today’s cash mob, including two appetizers and two sandwiches.
First up: a Wisconsin classic: beer-battered Wisconsin cheese curds, served with guest’s choice of ranch or chipotle-ranch ($8.50). We ordered ours with plain ranch.
These cheesy bites were lightly battered and crisp and they stayed plenty warm on the trip home.
We also tried the dainty fried spring rolls served with a teriyaki-mojo dipping sauce ($8.25).
I had a tough time putting my finger on exactly why these were so comforting; but I finally landed on the answer: be it good or bad, they reminded me of the frozen eggrolls I occasionally bought (and enjoyed) in college. Pleasantly crisp and vaguely vegetal, they popped when dipped in the teriyaki sauce.
One of the things I appreciate about Hamburger Mary’s is that you have lots of choices. Sure, you can go with the standard seasoned fries with your sandwiches; but you can also opt for tater ta-tas (+$1); sweet potato fries (+$1.50); side salad (+$1.50); mac and cheese (+$1.50) or a cup of chili (+$1.50).
Not in the mood for a burger? Sub out the beef for grilled chicken, fried chicken or a Beyond Meat patty (+$2).
We exercised that freedom of choice by ordering the cheekily-named “Guacamole BJ” with fried chicken instead of a burger. It comes topped with applewood-smoked bacon, Jack cheese and guacamole ($14.50). We also subbed in a side salad for $1.50.
Turns out, this was pretty great as a fried chicken sandwich. It was a little salty, a little smokey and nice and creamy thanks to the lime-forward guacamole. The chicken itself was tender and flavorful; the light exterior breading didn’t stay super crisp, but the breading still served up a bit of flavor and texture. The salad deluded us into believing we’d made a semi-virtuous life choice.
I love a good patty melt, and it’s something I’ve never tried at Hamburger Mary’s. So, we ordered theirs, which comes with their fresh half-pound burger patty, melted Swiss, grilled onions and Mary sauce on grilled rye toast ($14). We added some tater ta-tas to boot ($1).
I’d definitely go back to order this patty melt for dine-in. It actually fared pretty well as take-out; but I know the bread would’ve been more crisp if it hadn’t made an 18-minute journey across town. Nonetheless, it was tasty. The burger was cooked to order (I ordered mid-rare expecting medium and it was just about perfect). It was also juicy and flavorful. Together with the toppings, it gave me just what I needed to fill the patty melt void I’ve been experiencing.
Oh, yeah, those ta-tas were pert and crisp as well. I could’ve blasted them for a few minutes in the oven to freshen them; but I didn’t, and they were still just fine.
How to order
Should you choose to dine in, Hamburger Mary's will also be hosting a "Diva de la Noche" drag show tonight with the LatinX Queens. The socially distanced experience is sure to be a blast.
If you choose to participate in our restaurant love bomb, bolster your support by sharing photos of your meal on social media using #CashMobMKE.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.