Ashley and Brandon Wright, twin-brothers and owners of the merriest joint in Andersonville, have pretty full plates. With Hamburger Mary's
lines frequently stretching out the door at prime eating times and opening hours that span from 11 a.m.-1 a.m., it's a bustling business for two guys giving it their first try. The brothers always knew they wanted to run a business together, the trick was just finding the right fit.
Talking over drinks about a year and a half ago, a friend mentioned the idea of bringing a Hamburger Mary's to Chicago, and the rest is history. Leaving their jobs (Ashley was managing a bar called Cobalt in D.C. and Brandon was a chemical engineer here in Chicago), the brothers joined forces to create their own member of a nationwide franchise that prides itself on individuality. Ashley and Brandon designed their outpost on their own, wonderfully merging "Mary" and all things Chicago.
While the guys ordered themselves a cheeseburger and fries, I sipped my Mighty Leaf jasmine tea. So between the three of us, we ate, drank, and were merry..."Mary" herself would have been proud. Here's what Ashley and Brandon dished out:
If I were to come to your neighborhood, where would you insist I visit?
Brandon: We both live and work in Andersonville, which is such a fantastic neighborhood to walk around and do things for an entire day and evening. We love Sweet Occasions, Marty's Wine and Martini Bar, and Atmosphere. There's shopping during the day, plenty of great restaurants for dinner, and some fun late night spots, too. And now with Hamburger Mary's in the mix, we're open for daytime, evening and late-night burger cravings.
Drink that proves the wonders of alcohol and your favorite place to drink it?
Ashley: Stoli Raz with soda and a splash of cranberry is my signature drink anywhere, but my top drinking destination is Cocktail in Boystown.
Brandon: Ditto on the drink. I also love Stoli blueberry with soda and a splash of something (cranberry or Sprite). As for place? I'm a Sidetracks kind of guy.
Favorite hidden gem in Chicago?
Brandon: Well, this isn't really hidden, but good to know for people who are new to the city: The free days at all of the museums.
Ashley: Since I just moved here last summer, I don't know many hidden gems yet, but my favorite place to go is "The Bean" in Millennium Park. I love it for how obnoxious and ridiculous it is. I never get bored with it.
Favorite Hamburger Mary's burger?
Ashley: Well you are what you eat, so my favorite is the Queen Mary: it comes with bacon, grilled onions, cheddar and jack.
Brandon: Mine's the Big Kahuna: teriyaki, pineapple, cheddar and jack.
Three words that best describe Hamburger Mary's?
Brandon: Yummy, fun, friendly.
Ashley: I can do it in two: Classy kitsch.
What makes Andersonville the ideal neighborhood for Hamburger Mary's?
Brandon: The Hamburger Mary's motto is "Open air bar and grill for open-minded people." We think Andersonville has exactly those kinds of people. It's such a diverse, open crowd: we get a lot of families (kids can choose from our Little Lambs menu), and a lot of "types" of people who can come in, relax, and be themselves.
Find out more at Hamburgermaryschicago.com.
Heather Blaha takes tea (or booze, depending on the day) with a Chicagoan who knows a thing or two about the city's bars/restaurants/galleries each month. If you know some she must chat with over Earl Gray, let her know.