Mary's Burger bistro opened today at 2301 Pacific Ave. in downtown Tacoma. The restaurant and diners celebrated with cookies. Maybe "celebrated" is the wrong word.
Service was slow at high-noon today. The grill guys looked harried. When I arrived, there were five people in the place, two of them waiting for their orders. Shortly after I ordered my burger, Mary's filled up. Within 15 minutes, 36 people were in line or waiting for burgers.
One of the fast-thinking owners started passing out peanut butter and chocolate-chip cookies.
No one in the room -- not even the hungry restaurant critic who hadn't had a bite to eat all morning -- betrayed visible signs of impatience.
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Mary's Burger Bistro occupies the renovated location of a Tacoma icon, Art's Hamburgers. Mary's honors Art's with Art's Burger, served with pickled, grilled onions, mustard and ketchup.
Mary's Burgers are a throw-back to burgers of old: thin patties on soft buns with minimal toppings.
They're priced right, too: single burgers are $1.50 (99 cents for each extra quarter-pound patty), the priciest is $5.
Mary's building is a lot bigger than I thought it was, and even though all the decor is completed, Mary's bright tiles and corrugated aluminum counter give the restaurant a bright and comfortable, if simple, feeling.
Big windows afford views of Pacific Avenue, plus glimpses of the 509 Bridge and gantry cranes at the port.
Mary's opens at 6 a.m. for coffee, breakfast burritos and pastries.