730-734 S. 5th St.
Hamburger Mary’s – a gay-themed and LGBTQ+-friendly burger chain, bar and performance venue – moved from its purple Bay View building to the former La Perla space in Walker’s Point in November.
The move was inspired by the need for more space for regular popular events like Hambingo, drag shows and more. Although there was more parking options in the previous space – the building was surrounded by a parking lot and National Avenue/5th Street parking can be sparse – the space is much larger.
It is, however, divided into three very separate spaces: a craft beer bar called Mary’s Beercade with free old-school arcade and board games (Operation! Ms. Pac Man! Pinball!), as well as a second game room with a fireplace and, farthest to the north, in a space rarely open to the public when operated by La Perla, the dining area.
The dining area is similar to the former space with kitschy and colorful decor that ranges from plenty of "leg lamps" to large star cutouts hanging from the ceiling to campy, glammy and fun pop culture-y art, such as the revealing Madonna poster in the men's room, that set the tone for the experience. The staff continues to be upbeat and the service nearly impeccable.
Certainly it's worth a visit and a great fit for a very vibrant neighborhood. Bring the kids – they’ll love it.
Type of food: American, as in burgers, sandwiches, wings, milkshakes and more.
Prices: Fair. Burgers with a side are $10-15.
Vegetarian friendly: Yep. There is a grilled cheese and mac ’n’ cheese and a couple of salads on the menu. They also accommodate for gluten-free and low-carb diets.
Hours: Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday-Tuesday, and 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday.
Parking: Not ideal, but do-able. Street parking on 5th Street and National Avenue.
Vibe / dress: The vibe of Hamburger Mary’s is inclusive. You could go in jeans, your mother’s wedding dress or corporate attire and no one’s gonna bat an eyelash.
Hits: The burgers, the burgers, the burgers. There are 11 to choose from and they come exactly as ordered. We ordered the classic "Mary" burger, the "Proud Mary" burger and the "Black & Bleu Boy." The medium rare patties were perfectly medium rare – which is, well rare – and the toppings were plentiful. At times, too plentiful. (See "misses.")
We also appreciated the small details, like the cute bathrooms – two of which are gender-neutral – and that our check was delivered in a high-heeled shoe.
Misses: As much as we love cheese, there was actually too much bleu cheese on the two burgers ordered with it as a topping. It was easy to scrape off, but seemed like a waste.
Insider tip: If you are eating, make sure to go through the door on 5th Street that’s the farthest to the north. If you enter through the Beercade, which is directly on the corner of 5th and National, finding the restaurant is a bit tricky.
Also, the milkshakes are spot on. Merry Mary, Milwaukee!
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.