ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Hundreds of Bay Area charities are devastated by the news that Hamburger Mary’s Restaurant owner Kurt King will close the St. Petersburg and Brandon locations by the end of March. The popular restaurant chain also closed its Tampa Ybor City location in November.
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The restaurant helped raise around $2 million dollars for various charities and causes in the Tampa Bay Area.
Four days a week, Hamburger Mary’s hosted charity drag queen bingo events where 100% of the proceeds went to area non-profits or to individuals fighting cancer or dealing with other expensive medical treatments.
The organization Friends of Strays in St. Petersburg says they received more than $16,000 from the restaurant’s fundraisers. The money helped to pay for renovations on the shelter, which has been open since the 1980s.
Girls Inc. Pinellas is another charity that benefited from the restaurant’s goodwill. They estimate they received thousands of dollars which helps to sponsor scholarships for girls to attend their before and after school program.
Hamburger Mary’s also helped raise money for Brandon Niles, a 31-year-old man who lost both of his legs in a hit-and-run crash.
Local non-profits are calling the closure of the restaurant devastating for the community.
Hamburger Mary’s owner posted this message on Facebook Tuesday evening: “Mary has kept the Brandon and St. Petersburg restaurants 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. Mary appreciated the outrage expressed by several of the candidates for Mayor of Tampa and the Hillsborough County Board over the Health Department’s false and discriminatory actions against Mary’s Ybor locations. 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.”
Both restaurants will close on March 31st.
Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater location on US-19, which was sold to new owners last year, will remain open.