Sydney’s burger scene can be roughly divided into two eras: before Mary’s and after Mary’s. Nowadays, the city is awash with cafes, diners and even fine-dining restaurants serving American-style cheeseburgers, but back in 2013, hardly anyone was.
Owners Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham weren’t aiming for revolution. They just wanted to create a venue they’d like hanging out in. It just so happened that loud, dark pubs playing metal, pouring local beers and serving fried chicken and cheeseburgers styled on America’s popular fast food chains didn’t really exist in Sydney.
The duo got hold of the 100-year-old building and gutted it. They retained the original floorboards, added a mezzanine level and built tables using old railway sleepers. Homemade Jack Daniel’s light fittings and a timber feature wall add plenty of character.
The short menu is styled on American fast food, but it’s far from it in production. Sure, the buns are soft and cheap (Breadtop is our best guess at their secret identity) and the cheese is American. But the all-important patties use some of the best beef in Australia – O’Connor grass-fed; and the trashcan bacon is smoked on-site in a (spotless) garbage can. The drinks list, written in an Iron Maiden-style font, has leaders in Australian natural wine, Islay whiskeys and the local beer scene as well as a mix of old-school Australian brews, including Reschs.