By Staff Writer Eric Sousa.
Sometimes, you eat a burger that knocks your socks off. Sometimes, you eat a burger that feels like love at first sight, and you decide to run off to Vegas together to get hitched in some seedy church with an Elvis Presley look-a-like as the officiator. The food sold at Mary’s Steamed Burgers fall under the latter category, and will end up having you change your last name.
For a place with very affordable burgers, the internal ambiance didn’t match expectation. The aesthetic was relaxing to be a part of. Large windows at the front let in natural light. Behind the bar was brick, and on the opposite wall were unique art pieces. It was a cozy place to drop in. However, the best feature of the environment at Mary’s was definitely the aroma that pervaded through the establishment. It promised to be a good lunch by the smell alone. The menu was extensive, with over forty unique burger combinations; and that’s just the burgers.
The best person to explain the restaurant’s favorites was the woman who opened it in February 2016, Mary Hocking. Every burger on the menu came with a unique name, and every name came with a story and a smile from Mary. She regaled how each burger came to be. Some were named after long-time customers. Some were named by contest winners. Some were named by the firefighters or paramedics which helped create the burger. But one thing was certain; the community supported Mary, and she supported them right back. The first burger I tried was the BCC Cheeseburger. It came with American cheese, linguica, fried banana peppers, fried egg, and their signature sauce. Honestly, that isn’t even in their top 10 craziest burgers. But it was delicious.
I had to ask; why steamed burgers? Her response was simple. “It just tastes like a better burger. I’ve had them both ways. You don’t get the greasiness, it feels healthier. Plus, a customer once told me it’s the first time they’ve actually ever tasted the meat.” As I bit into the hot mess of a burger, I knew what she meant. It is a healthier way to cook the burger, but the toppings that come with it bring their own calories and flavor. Some burgers have grilled cheese as the bun, some have peanut butter, some have teriyaki infused grilled pineapple, and some have fried mac & cheese. Or, if you’re feeling tame, the classics work as well.
Besides having an ensemble of toppings that begin to border on insanity, they have a full menu of vegan & vegetarian Impossible burgers. One is called the Mission Impossible Burger with Chao cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a homemade vegan sauce. Plus, it’s a pun. It has everything you could want in a vegan option.
Not only did Mary walk through the menu with me, have me try all the sauces, and feed me these amazing fried tortilla strips with a garlic dip. She let me create my own burger… which I obviously did. It’s called the Corsair Challenge. It comes with avocado, lettuce, fried onion petals, umami tomato, and a new condiment called Arnie’s Sauce. It’s a force to be reckoned with. I’ve had a lot of burgers in my time. I can honestly say this was one of the best burgers, and overall experience, I’ve had in my entire life. The ingredients were flavorful, the toppings stood out individually, the environment was welcoming. Plus, it’s BYOB for all you upperclassmen out there.
Every section of their menu is flooded with original creations, from their avocado toasts to their loaded hot dogs. It is clear that Mary and her head chef, Kendra Knox, aren’t afraid of taking risks. Those risks pay off tenfold.
If you don’t want to make the drive, the GotChew food delivery service has you covered. Mary’s Steamed Burgers gets my golden stamp of approval. If you want to eat a burger that melds flavors and makes you nap, go to Five Guys. If you want a burger that gives you a story and a taste bud rollercoaster, go to Mary’s— And please, tell her I said hello.
PHOTO COURTESY: ERIC SOUSA