The future of the popular diner Hamburger Mary’s on the corner of Bute and Davie streets had been a topic of conversation within Davie Village for more than three years.
The bad news is there will never be another Hamburger Mary’s.
The good news is that there is now a new restaurant called Mary’s on Davie at the same spot as the iconic diner.
Co-owner Astrid O. Lalonde says that while the new name is a nod to the past, it also sends a message about the future.
“To be honest, we need more safe spaces in the Davie Village,” says Lalonde, who is also co-owner of the Fountainhead Pub just down the road from Mary’s. “The village needs more places to meet and the city did an amazing job of the Jim Deva Plaza, so we wanted this to become an extension of that.”
Lalonde says Mary’s colour scheme was also inspired by the plaza and the large turquoise blue, oversized megaphone at what’s known as Speaker’s Corner. It is a centrepiece of the square dedicated to Jim Deva and his life-long fight against censorship.
“We want to make Davie Village the best it can be,” says Lalonde. “Just like with the Fountainhead, we truly believe the philosophy to give where you live. It’s what the community deserves.”
Lalonde is hoping that besides their commitment to community, the food will also draw in the crowds, particularly during Pride Week now through Aug. 6, when Mary’s on Davie will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Lalonde says popular menu items at Mary’s, which officially opened July 26 after a seven-week renovation, are the alcohol-infused boozy milkshakes.
“The Frosted Nuts milkshake has turned out to be a popular one,” says Lalonde, with a laugh, “especially in this heatwave.”
Other flavours include the rum-laced Frozen Pirate and the tequila-based, margarita-flavoured shake. Meanwhile the food menu offers updated takes on old diner favourites, including chicken and waffles, a mac-and-cheese stuffed grilled cheese sandwich, late-night snacks, burgers and Tater-tot-chos, which have replaced traditional natchos.
Catch phrases posted on the restaurant’s website include, “Mary is back,” and “She thinks you’re fabulous.”
Following an extensive renovation, Mary’s still has the booths at the back but wooden tables, blue banquettes and pink and blue vintage-inspired chairs give the room a mid-century modern look that’s half upscale diner and part “sassy brunch spot.”
“We kept a little of the old and brought in the new with a fresh look,” says Lalonde. “And we kept part of the old name. After all, I think we’re all a little bit Mary.”