Castle Rock resident David Huisenga drove to West Longview on Thursday and Friday last week just to chow down at Mary’s Burger & A Shake.
“I’ve been all over the world two times ... and I’ve never had a burger like this,” said Huisenga, 41, eating a wild Swiss mushroom burger and fries Friday. “It’s probably one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life.”
Owner Mary Mathers opened the cozy burger joint with six tables Nov. 11 in the space formerly occupied by Umi Teriyaki. After more than 20 years of waitressing at Elmer’s Pancake House (now Stuffy’s) and the Monticello Hotel, Mathers, 52, was ready to run her own business. Although she lives in Lexington, she chose to locate in West Longview because “there’s no place out here like us,” she said Friday.
For the first couple of days, Mathers wondered whether she’d done the right thing — and then her former waitressing customers began flocking in to support her.
“It’s been going wonderful,” she said.
She hasn’t had to do a lick of advertising. Waitress Sierra Hebert immediately started a Facebook page for the restaurant and posted daily specials and photos of the food. Now the place is so busy, Mathers plans to expand the dining room into the next storefront in January so she can offer breakfast daily rather than just on weekends.
Her husband, Warren Mathers, and son, Jeff Hamilton, the restaurant’s cook, created the menu of 17 burgers, five sliders, a kid’s menu, milk shakes and floats. The hand-pressed burgers, which are cut with a touch of brisket for flavor, average $10 and come with a soft drink, plus fries, potato salad or onion rings. The house fries are made from scratch. Burgers include the Ultimate Bacon Burger with three kinds of bacon, the Bite You Back Burger with jalapenos, pepper bacon and fire sauce, and the Oahu Burger, a 3/4-pound beef patty with a thin slice of Spam, a grilled pineapple ring and teriyaki sauce.
For the eater who likes a challenge, there’s the Mountain Burger for $24.95, which is three patties (totaling 2 1/4 pounds of beef) topped with egg, bacon, cheddar, Swiss, turkey, ham, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. The towering burger comes with 2 pounds of fries and 2 pounds of onion rings.
“You ought to see their faces when it comes out,” Mary Mathers said.
Finish the entire platter by yourself in 45 minutes and it’s free. You also get your photo on the wall and a T-shirt that says “I conquered the mountain.” So far, seven people have taken the challenge and one man has finished it.
Customers keep coming back because the meat and veggies are so fresh, she said.
“I think that makes a huge difference when you get a good burger,” she said.