Hamburger Mary’s, which sued Gov. DeSantis over drag queen law, is closing and hoping to relocate
Hamburger Mary's is moving out of 'sleepy' downtown Orlando.

hamburger mary's orlando WFTV
Within 12 hours of the post, nearly 400 people responded with well wishes.

The LGBTQ+-friendly Orlando restaurant involved in a landmark lawsuit pushing back against Florida’s culture wars is closing its doors next month.

Popular for its drag queen brunches, Hamburger Mary’s successfully sued last year to stop SB 1438, which banned children from attending drag queen shows.

Hamburger Mary’s announced it will close business at the end of the day June 2, citing a changing downtown Orlando environment as the reason why. The restaurant’s owners called their news “bittersweet” and said they hope to reopen somewhere else in the future.

“For over 16 years, Hamburger Marys has operated from our 4,400 sq ft store on Church St and to date have served almost 2 million happy souls,” the restaurant’s Facebook post said. “So many amazing drag performers who have come through our doors to entertain our guests and allowed us to win so many awards for Best Drag Shows, Bingo, Trivias and Brunches in town.”

Within 12 hours of the post, nearly 400 people responded with well wishes, stories and suggestions where to relocate.

Hamburger Mary’s post went on to say, “Thank you all for always supporting us. We encourage you to continue to support our local LGBTQIA+ owned and operated businesses as well as those operated by our allies.”

Hamburger Mary sued the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration last year and argued the law banning children from attending live adult performances violated the restaurant’s First Amendment rights and was overly broad.

A federal Judge sided with Hamburger Mary and halted the rule. The state had gone as far as to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block the Judge’s injunction that kept the law from taking effect. The highest court in the land later denied the state’s request.

Downtown Orlando’s bar and restaurant district is several blocks near the municipal government buildings and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts — about 30 minutes from Disney World. The local media has covered concerns about downtown Orlando’s safety in recent months. The latest troubles are over parking. Several other longtime restaurants and bars have left the area, reopening further away.

“Downtown Orlando has been great to us. However, times have changed. The hustle and bustle of Downtown Orlando has given way to a sleepy city with few people working downtown and opting for remote, and less traffic in the evenings,” Hamburger Mary’s said in the social media post.

The restaurant’s owners added they are in negotiations to find a new venue and asked anyone with a space to contact them.

“We are excited about what lies ahead and can’t wait to share it with you,” the post said.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


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  • ScienceBLVR

    May 23, 2024 at 12:56 pm

    De Santis reminds me of the senator Hackman played in The Birdcage, the founder of the Coalition for Moral Order. Great film, Btw, right on point with Hamburger Mary’s..

  • No More Rhonda

    May 23, 2024 at 2:19 pm

    Sad, but excited to see where they open up! Hopefully across from the governors mansion so Rhonda can get a clear view every night as she takes off her high heels and is reminded that woke can’t be stopped and that she didn’t win the presidency! Bahaha

  • Michael K

    May 23, 2024 at 9:42 pm

    Freedom is terrifying to autocrats. I suggest Rhonda and Mrs Rhonda go see “Cabaret” to understand what happens when petty tyrants direct their ire at artists and intellectuals for creating open spaces for free expression.

    Funny how Rhonda calls suppression “freedom” as if people are stupid enough to believe his nonsense. Live and let live, and stop trying to control every aspect of people’s lives. He should seek out the drag queen “Rhonda Santis” for starters and learn to laugh at himself the way Bush Sr. embraced Dana Carvey.

    • MarvinM

      May 27, 2024 at 3:35 pm

      And while people might say “Well, this is just one little job/small business DeSantis killed, overall he’s been a job creator”, that stuff doesn’t cut it very well when it’s your job, your business, or another job in your field that has been killed. And we see no evidence that DeSantis will not continue to kill jobs or destroy small businesses he thinks are ‘bad”, “distasteful”, or that just seem to for whatever reason personally gross him out.*

      “Cabaret” is a great musical. I think the stage musical is a little better/hard-hitting than the movie, although the movie is of course wonderful.
      Another musical DeSantis should see is “La Cage aux Folles”. In fact, he should probably see a lot more musicals.

      And as for his “Freedom” crap, yeah.
      it’s not freedom Ron, to require municipalities/counties to only project red, white and blue lights on bridges. It’s not freedom to tell school boards and cruise ships they cannot make their own masking and vaccination policies, especially during a pandemic. And it’s certainly not freedom to sign a 6-week abortion ban, when most women will not even know they are pregnant within the six weeks and if they do, how will they get the appointment, abide by the waiting times and required ultrasounds, etc. in time to get that abortion within that six weeks? It’s pretty much almost impossible for anyone and therefore effectively it is a complete abortion ban. The opposite of freedom.

      DeSantis isn’t on the ballot in November, but people who would continue his anti-freedom-masquerading-as-freedom candidates are. Vote them out.
      And vote Yes on 4.

      * Anything gay, trans, or involving the smell of marijuana for starters

  • Mau

    May 24, 2024 at 2:55 am

    Just stay away from kids,

Comments are closed.


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