Brewery, Hamburger Mary's to open this winter

Owners choose new location at South Oak Park Avenue

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Owners of the Oak Park Brewing Company and Hamburger Mary's have announced the purchase of 155 S. Oak Park Ave. for their business and plan to open this winter.

The business originally planned to open at 1111-1113 South Blvd., but co-owner Ashley Wright said he and his partners were unable to secure financing for two-story building in the Pleasant District.

"In a nutshell, the building we were looking at was just a little too big," Wright said in a telephone interview.

He said development of the new building is expected to run approximately $2 million.

"All the walls have to come down, and we'll need new draining, new electrical, new plumbing — new everything; it's a big job," he said. 

The group expects the 5,800-square-foot brew pub and hamburger joint to be open sometime in late 2014 or early 2015, Wright said, noting that development of the site is in the early stages and the group is still working on architectural renderings.

"We still have to go through permitting, and the bank has to sign off on everything, so it's a process," he said.

He said the new business will be similar in concept to the group's location in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, but the Oak Park shop will have a more prominent focus on the brewery.

Wright said the group chose Oak Park for a second location for a number of reasons, but noted that village's enthusiasm for the Micro Brew Review, an annual craft brew event in the village. Wright also said the village lacked a neighborhood brew pub.

"We like going to Oak Park; it's got a cool vibe to it," he said, adding that the village has a "progressive vibe" and "a very good beer culture."

Co-owner Brandon Wright, who also serves as head brewer at the Andersonville location, said the group expects to debut a new beer that will be local to the Oak Park shop at this year's Micro Brew Review in August.

Brandon Wright said that he and the brew masters have yet to settle on a recipe for the new beer but are toying with a Frank Lloyd Rye, in honor of the world famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and a Betty Wit, named after actress Betty White, who was born in the village.

He said the Oak Park shop will have rotating seasonal beers on tap and is likely to feature beers offered at the Andersonville brewery.

Ashley Wright said the burger shop and brewery are expected to be connected, so patrons can easily rotate between the two. Both will offer the same menu, he said.

He added that the menu "is going to be similar to our Andersonville location, but it's not going to be the same because we don't like to repeat ourselves."

The menu is likely to include popular items such as the Queen Mary and Buffy the Burger Slayer, Ashley Wright said.

The LGBT-friendly business also will offer some of the same evening events, such as drag shows and charity bingo, he said.

"Definitely the Mary's side will be more kitsch," Ashley Wright said.

He said the group worked closely with members of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation to locate the site.

"Sara Faust, over there, has been a great big help," he said.

Faust said in a press release that the building the group purchased has been on the market for "quite a while, and the investment that the ownership is making in this property will be substantial."

"The business' commitment to green practices, charitable efforts, family-friendly environment and involvement with the LGBTQ community remains the same," Faust said.


Reader Comments

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David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 9th, 2014 10:33 AM

Be nice if "You Really Should Eat This" could cover Big Guys, Phil, but we're focused on Oak Park restaurants. I've been a fan of Big Guys since they opened:

empty building  

Posted: May 9th, 2014 9:23 AM

Maybe movement in this area will lead to the old Thyme and Honey building finally getting filled? Would also be nice if the old conveinence store got a tenant as well, such an ugly empty storefront

joe from south oak park  

Posted: May 9th, 2014 8:44 AM

no kidding. I"ll miss hot dougs, but big guys is within walking distance of the house and 'oh so good'. the crawfish sausage sandwich is just awesome!

Phil from Oak Park  

Posted: May 9th, 2014 8:21 AM

Regarding sad Oct. closer of Hot Doug's, I agree with post below. Get yourself to Big Guy's on Roosevelt. Just as good as Hot Dougs, and addictive garlic fries. My wife and are are going for lunch today using Groupon. David Hammond should check them out: "you really should eat this!" (And happy to see HMary's coming to OP!)

old tyme and honey  

Posted: May 8th, 2014 4:03 PM

Nothing more than the owner is an idiot.


Posted: May 8th, 2014 3:35 PM

Oh I had 155s and the Thyme and Honey building mixed up, I wonder if there is something wrong with that building since it was been vacant so long and the Brunch deal fell through

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: May 8th, 2014 2:46 PM

The OMG breakfast place had been slated for the former site of Thyme & Honey at Oak Park and South. That deal has fallen through and the property is now listed with David King & Associates. The 155 S. Oak Park Ave. site is the long vacant Vets Center location. A bar called Pints had been close to taking that space about a year ago. With Wednesday Journal right next door, we're glad to see the activity.

Good Dogs  

Posted: May 8th, 2014 1:53 PM

If you're looking for a quality, handmade, dog, look no further than Big Guys on Roosevelt. Really really great. Says someone sad to see hot doug's go.

Frank Furter from Oak Park  

Posted: May 8th, 2014 1:52 PM

There will certainly be a whole lot of wieners there....


Posted: May 8th, 2014 1:29 PM

I would imagine their Oak Park menu would mirror the other location's menus, you can view them on their website

Chicago Dog  

Posted: May 8th, 2014 1:27 PM

Will H Marys have any deluxe hotdogs......Since Hot Dougs is closing? Vienna style?

Ali O.  

Posted: May 8th, 2014 1:05 PM

This is a HUGE win for OP - Hamburger Mary's is great!!


Posted: May 8th, 2014 12:46 PM

So excited for this! I was not thrilled when that OMG Brunch place announced they were opening at 155 south oak park, those plans must have fallen through and opened this great opportunity up

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