Food News

Mary’s burgers are popping up in Melbourne

With fancy cocktails, but only for a limited time.
Mary's owners Kenny Graham and Jake Smyth

Mary's co-owners Kenny Graham and Jake Smyth

Prepare yourself, Melbourne: Sydney’s most beloved burgers are headed south. But be warned: they’re there for a good time, not a long time.

The moment the red light above its door was switched on in 2013, Mary’s became a Sydney institution. The combination of American-style burgers, fried chicken, local beers, natural wines and a turned-to-11 metal soundtrack instantly earning the venue a cult following, with the queues to match.

Now that same winning mix of ingredients, with the addition of “fancy cocktails from some fancy fuckers”, is set to spend two months in the heart of Melbourne, with Mary’s founders Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham launching a pop-up bar-eatery in the Melbourne CBD from 13 February. It’s a collaboration with the Fancy Free collective, comprising Matt Stirling, Rob Libecans and Ryan Noreiks, the bartending trio who previously worked at Melbourne’s cocktail bar Black Pearl (ranked 22nd in The World’s Best Bars list in 2017).

Black Pearl

Despite the fact the crew are bringing some of their Mary’s favourites south, Graham promises the temporary venue won’t be a simple copy-and-paste job of the Newtown original.

“It’s definitely much more of a collaboration with our good pals at Fancy Free,” Graham says. “Think of it more as an ‘alternate reality’ Mary’s. We’re trying to get David Lynch to direct a service but not having much success.”

After a number of one-night-only takeovers and a handful of festival gigs in Melbourne, Graham says the team is excited to have a meatier presence in the city.

“Mary’s loves Melbourne and being welcomed by some of the city’s most élite hospo talent was an offer too good to pass on,” he says. “That, and it’s gonna be so much fucking fun.”

A double Mary’s burger (Photo: Supplied)

News of the pop-up comes only days after the Mary’s team announced their takeover of the shuttered Basement site in Sydney’s Circular Quay. The blues and jazz venue joins The Lansdowne in Chippendale and The Unicorn in Paddington, as well as a CBD outpost of Mary’s on the list of venues they have a stake in.

“We are very lucky,” he says. “The success of any business can be traced back to the people and the energy, creativity and hard work they invest every single day. It’s a learning experience for all of us, learning to become much more organised and a little less ‘flying by the seat of our pants’.”

As the two teams ready themselves for the grand opening, pants and all, Graham is looking forward to welcoming the city’s burger fans to their temporary home interstate. “Come and join us Melbourne, and thanks for having us!”

The Mary’s x Fancy Free pop-up opens February 13, with Mary’s in residence until 31 March.

381 Little Collins St, Melbourne, Mon-Sat 4pm-11pm (first week of trade), Mon-Sat 11am-11pm (ongoing)

Related stories