Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater location, the last in Tampa Bay, to close

The burger joint, staffed by local drag queens, has one final week of entertainment planned.
Kenny Lawson performs in a drag show at the Hamburger Mary's in Clearwater in May 2016.
Kenny Lawson performs in a drag show at the Hamburger Mary's in Clearwater in May 2016.
Published March 6, 2023|Updated March 6, 2023

Hamburger Mary’s will soon serve its last meal in Clearwater.

On Monday, the Pinellas location of the drag queen-staffed burger joint shared on Facebook that it will be closing after this weekend.

Hamburger Mary’s opened its first location in San Francisco in 1972. Since then, the concept has expanded to locally owned, independent restaurants across the country, including Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

The Clearwater restaurant at 28910 U.S. 19 N was the last location in the Tampa Bay region. In 2018, the chain’s Ybor City location closed after the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County reported that a worker had tested positive for hepatitis A. The owner said the report was false. In 2019, the St. Pete and Brandon locations also shuttered.

Related: Hamburger Mary's closes St. Pete, Brandon locations amid health department reports

The Facebook post did not include a reason why the Clearwater location of the restaurant is closing. However, the announcement comes at a politically heated time, as Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republicans across the country have focused their attention on drag shows. In February, Florida moved to revoke the liquor license of The Plaza Live in Orlando following an all-ages drag queen show.

Related: Florida moves to revoke Orlando event venue’s liquor license after drag queen show

Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Dan Johnson, 64, heard the news Saturday night while enjoying dinner and a show with his wife. After the evening’s drag performances wrapped up, one of the entertainers came onstage and told the crowd the news.

“People were in shock, and she said, ‘Things change. The world is changing,’ or something like that,’” Johnson said. “Somebody in the audience yelled out, ‘That sucks!’ We agreed.”

Hamburger Mary’s fans still have a few opportunities to visit the restaurant. Wacky Wednesday Bingo is on for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Drag Trivia Thursday takes place the next night at 7:30 p.m. Superstar Saturday kicks off with a drag show at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday Brunch with the Divas runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

According to the Facebook post, Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater will share updates when it knows more information about where its performers are headed next.

“It’s so hard to say goodbye so instead we will say see you later,” the post read. “Let’s eat, drink and be Mary!!!”