There were rumbles of something more permanent being on the table when Mary's Burgers, the Sydney outfit that has been serving top-quality burgers and booze alongside low-rent fun since 2013, did a residency at the Fancy Free bar pop-up in early 2019. Those gut instincts have proved correct.
Founders Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham have confirmed Mary's Melbourne will be delivering its "get fat" philosophy to 167 Franklin Street from late January. It was originally slated for early November, but the team have hit delays and are determined to launch with a bang.
It has been a considered move, with the recent pop-ups at Fancy Free and Laneway festival allowing the team to introduce themselves to Melbourne before muscling in. Local suppliers will also star, and Caitlyn Rees' wine list is Victorian-producer heavy. The full Mary's menu of burgers (both vegan and the O'Connor beef classics), fried chicken, gravy-loaded mash and vegan deep-fried cauliflower will be in force, plus Melbourne-specific dishes to be determined.
The enormous site is Mary's biggest to date at 140 seats with a mezzanine for 60. It will be overhung with a custom-made wrought-iron chandelier suspending 24,000 dead rose stems, and with a capacity for 300 standing, a 1am license and position beneath a hostel, it will be ready for weddings, parties, anything.
According to founder Smyth, "the City of Melbourne and its fine people have given us our fair share of hangovers over the past six years – we figure that it is high time we gave some back".
Given the size of the space, the unobtrusive location on the CBD's fringe and a huge basement, will Mary's Melbourne also have elements of the team's more high-end venue, Mary's Underground, where duck frites, luxe wines and live music unite? No one will say, but here's hoping.
Mary's Melbourne will open in late January at 167 Franklin Street, Melbourne.