Hotspots Exclusive Interview
Hamburger Mary’s is a brand we’ve all come to know and love in Florida. Established in 1972 in San Francisco, there are now dozens of Hamburger Mary’s restaurants throughout the United States, including four in Florida. Perhaps you’ve stopped in for a burger, a drink and an entertaining drag show at the locations in Clearwater, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville already.
Now, the fifth Hamburger Mary’s location in the Sunshine State is slated to open soon. The massive, 8,800 square foot restaurant will be located at 180 N. Beach Street in Daytona Beach, adjacent to the Halifax River and just one block away from International Speedway Boulevard. Gary Motes opened the Jacksonville branch of Hamburger Mary’s three years ago and he and his staff are confident that a Daytona Beach location is something the community in Volusia County wants and needs.
I spoke with Hamburger Mary’s Daytona Beach entertainment director Brittany Moore about the new Central Florida offering and what we can expect in this exclusive Hotspots interview.
How exciting is it to open up Hamburger Mary’s in Daytona Beach?
Everyone’s really excited. Even though it’s a franchise, I really feel like Hamburger Mary’s in Jacksonville and now in Daytona are family businesses. They’ve put a lot into both locations and I’ve seen the sacrifice they’ve made to make all of this happen.
Why was Daytona Beach picked for this expansion?
Gary felt it was important to look at properties that were ready to go and would work, and if you look at Daytona Beach, it really doesn’t have much of anything “gay” there at all. The location is wonderful; you have the restaurant that’s 8,800 square feet, and it’s located near a nice historical district downtown that is growing and developing…that area has such great potential, so those were all factors in the decision.
Are you hoping Hamburger Mary’s will become a focal point of the community there?
The great thing about Volusia is that the experience is so different from when we opened the Jacksonville store. You’d hear people say that it wouldn’t work, that it wasn’t in that great of an area, those sorts of things, and the community in Volusia has reached out to us. Not that Jacksonville didn’t do that, but we’ve made great connections with the chamber of commerce and we’ve already done some great networking with the local businesses. Everyone has been wonderful and I’m glad we are building great relationships there.
Please tell us about the opening weekend, and all of the theme nights you have coming each week.
For the opening weekend we will be having a Vegas-style revue, with two shows each night, one at 7:30 p.m. and one at 9:30 p.m. We haven’t picked a full-time cast yet, but we do have a lineup for the opening weekend, and that will consist of Dana Douglas, Versage Holt, myself, Alexis Gabrielle Sherrington, Taylor McCray, and Mary’s Dancers. We expect to rotate some of our cast out to the Daytona location to perform some weeks.
Sunday nights will be our charity bingo night. Most Hamburger Mary’s have bingo nights where they raise money for charities in the area. Wednesday nights will be our “adult bingo” night, Thursday nights will be a throwback night and we’ll be featuring the iconic, old-school queens who inspired a lot of the newer performers. Then on Fridays and Saturdays, we’ll have full-blown productions with two drag shows, one at 7:30 p.m. and one at 9:30 p.m. In Jacksonville we even have dancers, and we will have them in Daytona too, so it’s going to be a full 75 to 80-minute show. Then on Sundays we will have a celebrity impersonation brunch, called “La Cage aux Mary’s,” and the showtime will be at 1:30 p.m.
What would you say to people from out of town to convince them to visit Daytona Beach and check out Hamburger Mary’s for themselves?
Daytona Beach has been such a big tourist destination for so long, and I think it’s important now that people know that there is a gay-owned and operated establishment where you can go to after relaxing on the beach. There are a lot of great things in Daytona Beach so people should visit and see them, and us!
Hamburger Mary’s Daytona Beach is accepting reservations for their opening weekend’s shows right now! Seating is 30 minutes before each show (7:30 and 9:30). Go to their Facebook page at facebook.com/MarysDaytonaBeach to put in your reservation request now! Hamburger Mary’s Daytona Beach is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.