Hamburger Mary’s Brandon, St. Petersburg announce impending closure

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Hamburger Mary’s Brandon and Hamburger Mary’s St. Petersburg will permanently close on or before March 31, owner Kurt King shared late Feb. 26.

“Kurt King regretfully announces that the Hamburger Mary’s locations in Brandon and St. Petersburg will close for good on March 31, 2019 or possibly sooner,” King shared via Facebook.

“Both locations have suffered sustained losses from the continuing effects of the slanderous assault on Mary’s good name and that of her employees from the Hillsborough office of the State Health Department,” he continued, “which forced their sister locations in Ybor City to close in November.”

King announced the permanent, same-day closure of Hamburger Mary’s Tampa and Mary’s Pub House in Ybor Nov. 6 after a brief closure Oct. 24-25. The Florida Dept. of Health (DOH) in Hillsborough County reported a positive case of hepatitis A in an employee, a highly-contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis virus. They subsequently offered vaccinations to employees and diners that frequented the establishments Oct. 4-20.

Tampa Bay ABC affiliate WFTS reported Nov. 2 that the Oct. 24-25 closure “was actually due to live roaches and rodents in the kitchen.” King advised Watermark this was remedied ahead of the locale’s permanent closure.

In January, King alleged homophobia contributed to the closure of the LGBTQ chain’s Tampa location, advising the employee in question tested negative for hepatitis A and that the Hillsborough County Health Department’s Director Dr. Douglas Holt “came after Hamburger Mary’s because we are gay owned and operated.”

To corroborate this, King provided Watermark with lab results conducted by Tampa General that were dated Oct. 21. They showed a negative test result, though no patient name was included.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that the individual had hepatitis A,” the DOH in Hillsborough County’s Public Information Officer Kevin Watler advised Watermark Jan. 24. “We are limited in what else we can say about the case due to health privacy laws.”

Following his announcement that he would be closing Hamburger Mary’s Brandon and St. Petersburg, King appeared on WFTS to reiterate his view that the DOH had targeted the chain.

“The state of Florida has ripped my family apart,” King said. “So many people have lost their houses, lost everything they have because of what Dr. Holt did to Hamburger Mary’s and it’s wrong … I cannot believe he still has his job, while all my people are losing theirs.”

King’s announcement, which was shared via Hamburger Mary’s multiple social media accounts as well as on his own, advised that the Brandon and St. Petersburg restaurants had remained open in hopes that “as the truth of the Health Department’s false accusations about the Ybor restaurants became known, business would return to its former levels.”

“Unfortunately, business in both Brandon and St. Petersburg has remained suppressed to the point where it is no longer possible to keep the doors open,” the message noted.

“The Brandon and St. Petersburg locations of Hamburger Mary’s will try to stay open until March 31, 2019 to give Mary’s dedicated staff time to find new jobs,” King concluded. “Please show your support for these hardworking men and women by visiting Mary’s in either Brandon or St. Petersburg during March.”

Watermark has reached out to King for additional information and will update this post accordingly upon receiving his response. You can read his full announcement below:

Hamburger Mary’s Brandon and St. Petersburg Locations to Close on March 31 Due to Continuing Damage to Mary’s Brand from…

Posted by Kurt King on Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater, which King also owned until Sept. 2018, will not close. The location addressed the news via social media, noting that they “welcome everyone to come Eat, Drink and Be… Mary!”

We at Hamburger Mary's Clearwater would like to send our love to our Brandon and St. Pete brothers and sisters. For…

Posted by Hamburger Mary's Clearwater on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

 

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