August 1st marks the start of a new month, which means a new burger-of-the-month at Hamburger Mary's, a popular Andersonville brew pub known for serving gourmet half-pound burgers with a "side of Sass." With a flare for wit, 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… by offering a southern-style chicken sandwich while advocating diversity.
Twin brothers Ashley & Brandon Wright are the owners of the Chicago and Milwaukee Hamburger Mary's franchises, as well as part-owners of the brand nationally. Originally from Atlanta, the Wright brothers have enjoyed plenty of Chick-fil-A sandwiches over the years. "I've always thought they had a great sandwich," says Brandon.
But the current controversy has prompted the brothers, and many of their friends, to seek alternatives. Ashley and Brandon are both gay, and Hamburger Mary's is the only national franchise system that caters to the gay & lesbian community. "We wanted to create our own southern-style chicken sandwich, made from free-range and 'hate-free' chickens," says Ashley. "We've developed a recipe that is pretty darn good, and this is the perfect opportunity to launch it."
Hamburger Mary's "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 (from Chicago's Highland Bakery).
A portion of the sale of the chicken sandwich will be donated nationwide. The Chicago location will make its donation to Equality Illinois.
The original Hamburger Mary's was the brainchild of a small group of hippies living in San Francisco in the early 70's. It was founded as "an open-air bar & grille for open-minded people."
Celebrating it's 40th anniversary this year, Hamburger Mary's is well known throughout the LGBT community, with twelve locations nationwide (and growing!) In addition to gourmet burgers, Mary's offers a full menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees & desserts (including deep-fried Twinkies and 'Mary Tyler S'Mores). There are also weekly events like charity "HamBingo Mary's," drag shows and MaryOke. The Chicago location is also a brew pub, pumping out it's own line of home-brewed ales.
Mary's is hoping that the August "burger"-of-the-month will bring a positive spin to the controversy over Dan Cathy's comments, and let people know that a "hate-free" chicken sandwich option is out there.
Hamburger Mary's Chicago, 5400 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640.