LGBTQ-friendly burger bar franchise opening in Cascade (update)


UPDATE (11:31 a.m. Oct. 26, 2020): At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Hamburger Mary’s will open its new West Michigan location to the public.

A pair of restaurateurs are opening a local franchise of Hamburger Mary’s.

Local owners and partners Doug Hanchett and Tom Zarkowski will open the LGBTQ-friendly burger bar location this fall at 6240 28th St. SE. in Cascade Township, in the former Blue Moose Sports Pub, which closed last summer, according to Colliers International West Michigan on Wednesday.

Colliers represented Hamburger Mary’s in securing the location.

“Hamburger Mary’s will be a great addition to the 28th Street corridor and return a prime location back to active use,” said Mark Ansara, vice president with Colliers West Michigan. “Colliers is always happy to assist in bringing new businesses to the area.”

The open-air burger bar promises a “unique dining experience with a flamboyant twist,” serving gourmet burgers and up to 40 beers on tap. An 80-person patio and roll-up garage doors will give customers an indoor/outdoor experience.

Hanchett and Zarkowski have worked in the entertainment and hospitality industry for years. They said they plan to offer the same “charm and openness” that is traditional of Hamburger Mary’s restaurants, forging a strong partnership with the local LGBTQ community. The owners plan to hold drag events such as karaoke, game night and trivia night, as well as drag shows, most days of the week.

“Tom and I lived in Grand Rapids while we were dating, so coming back to West Michigan felt like a natural fit,” Hanchett said. “We want everyone to know this is a family-friendly restaurant where everyone is welcome. We really look forward to being part of this community.”

Hanchett and Zarkowski said they will take COVID-19 safety precautions, including screening every employee and checking their temperature before they begin their shifts. Employees will wear masks at all times. Customers will be required to wear a mask when entering the building and not at their seats. The owners are requiring additional cleaning and sanitation and are following all state guidelines regarding occupancy.

“With the lockdowns due to COVID-19, we know everyone needs a little fun,” Hanchett said. “We are happy to provide that release in a safe, socially distant environment.”

The owners aspire to open more Hamburger Mary’s restaurants in Michigan.

More information on the restaurant can be found on its Facebook page.

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