Drag-Themed Burger Chain Hamburger Mary's To Open In San Diego's Hillcrest

July 30, 2023

A branch of 51-year-old drag-themed burger chain Hamburger Mary's Bar & Grille is in the planning stages to open in San Diego's Hillcrest. 

Hamburger Mary's was founded in San Francisco's SoMa District in 1972, originally a funky dive bar serving a late night-fueled burger menu. The restaurant chain now has 17 locations around the United States with branches sited in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin and Ohio. Earlier this year, Hamburger Mary's filed a lawsuit challenging the controversial new Florida law that banned drag performances where children may be present. 

San Diego-based Oceanic Enterprises, which is owned by Manoj Chawla, has reportedly purchased the local franchise rights from Hamburger Mary's with plans to open branch in Hillcrest. It is believed Chawla plans on putting Hamburger Mary's in the second story space that long housed Martinis Above Fourth Table + Stage in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood. Hamburger Mary's previously had a location on University Avenue in Hillcrest, but that branch shuttered in 2007 and has since been occupied by Urban Mo's. For the new branch, expect a flamboyant dining experience with a menu of celebrity named dishes and cocktails, along with nightly entertainment like "Dining with the Divas" drag shows, charity "HamBingo Mary’s" and MaryOke-Karaoke and trivia nights. 

San Diego-based Oceanic Enterprises has a long history working with hospitality projects. In 2016, the company acquired the La Jolla Inn and began an extensive renovation and rebranding to transform it into Cormorant Boutique Hotel. Oceanic Enterprises was founded in 2011 and has over 14 other properties around the country. Founder Manoj Chawla was on a bar and restaurant buying spree around San Diego during the pandemic. In the last couple years, he has acquired Martini's Above Fourth in Hillcrest, Mikami Bar & Revolving Sushi in Clairemont, Banzai Bar in Midway District (now La Barca), and Star Bar in downtown San Diego.

Hamburger Mary's is expected to open in 2024 at 3940 Fourth Avenue or in another space in San Diego's Hillcrest. For more information on the Hamburger Mary's brand, visit hamburgermarys.com