Announcing the Marriage of Hamburger Mary's and the Patio Cafe
By Les Natali
Two iconic, historic, cutting-edge, LGBT-friendly institutions for over 30 years in San Francisco, Hamburger Mary's on Folsom Street and the Patio on Castro Street, are joining together to open a new “Hamburger Mary's at the Patio Cafe.”
The original Hamburger Mary's opened in 1972 and the Patio Cafe opened in the 1960's. Both were gay-owned and operated and had a largely gay and lesbian clientele from San Francisco, the Bay Area, and tourists from around the world. Both establishments have been closed over a decade and both have been sorely missed.
After the original Hamburger Mary's closed in 2001 the owners granted licensing agreements to open Hamburger Mary's in other cities. Today there are 3 “Mary's” in California (West Hollywood, Palm Springs and Long Beach), and there are a total of 12 Hamburger Mary's in the U.S. There is also a Mary's in Berlin. Each “Mary's” is locally owned and operated, each one is different, and each is operated as a neighborhood restaurant. All “Mary's” owners pride themselves on being involved in their community and every “Mary's” gives back to their community. Mary's bingo events, for example, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the collective of Mary's restaurants has raised nearly one million dollars for local charities.
Because Hamburger Mary's has 12 locations in the U.S. the San Francisco planning department considers it (and any retail establishment with 11 or more locations) to be “formula retail.” Therefore we need to show that Mary's at the Patio Cafe is “necessary or desirable” for, and “compatible with the neighborhood or community.”
It is arguable whether any new restaurant is “necessary” in San Francisco because San Francisco has over 4,000 restaurants. However we believe “Mary's at the Patio” is both “desirable” for and “compatible” with the Castro neighborhood and the community.
Hamburger Mary's is not a chain or formula retail store like Starbucks, Walgreen's, Chipotle or the fast-food restaurants which have thousands of locations and which are all alike. “Hamburger Mary's at the Patio Cafe” will be a one-of-a-kind, locally owned and operated full-service restaurant and bar with reasonably-priced comfort food and cocktails, and it will have an interior décor incorporating the eclectic, friendly atmosphere of the original Mary's on Folsom Street.
“Mary's at the Patio” will be a lively and vibrant business and it will bring back life to the Patio Cafe which has been closed far too long. Bringing Mary back home to San Francisco and to the Patio Cafe will be desirable for the LGBT community, the Castro neighborhood, and San Francisco.
We need to show the planning department we have neighborhood support to open Mary's at the Patio Cafe. Please email your support to John Kevlin at JKevlin@reubenlaw.com