Since Chicago restaurants closed their dining rooms, business has been a little slow at Hamburger Mary’s, the local outpost of the drag-themed chain. Last Saturday, co-owner Ashley Wright told Eater Chicago, his crew rejoiced when they learned they’d taken in $1,000. Then they realized that on a typical non-COVID-19 Saturday, they took in $11,000.
So things are not great. But Hamburger Mary’s is still slinging hamburgers, and it still employs the drag queens who sling them. “We thought if we’re going to do this, let’s do something that sets us apart, and have fun with it,” Wright said. And so... Drag Queen Drive-Thru! If you order takeout with curbside delivery, your order will be brought to you by a drag queen. Wright himself devised a new persona especially for the occasion, Apple Brown Betty Sugarbaker.
The motivation for this is twofold: First, it’s fun. Second, it encourages customers to order from Hamburger Mary’s directly instead of a third-party delivery service, so Hamburger Mary’s doesn’t have to pay commission fees. “If you can order directly from your favorite restaurant by calling them direct, or by going there and picking up, I really encourage that,” Wright said.
None of the other Hamburger Mary’s locations are doing anything like Drag Queen Drive-Thru as far as Wright knows, although the Milwaukee location, which has delivery, is sending queens to bring customers their orders at home. (Though, if you live in Portland, Oregon, there’s always Boober.)