After weeks of speculation and rumors of its demise, the future is clear for Hamburger Mary’s in Wilton Manors: it’s finished.
It all came to a head on Jan. 18, when it was announced on social media that John Ribson had purchased the business and is turning it into a popular Canadian bar, The Well.
“Today marks a special occasion in my life,” Jason Basilico wrote. “Funny how life sometimes takes you in a full circle. I am proud to announce, in partnership with the fantastic John Ribson the newest and The first international gay bar and restaurant to hit the Drive. A lot of exciting and new changes to come. I can only hope you all join me on this new adventure.”
They are ending the Hamburger Mary’s motif and turning it into The Well On Wilton Drive. There are several iterations of The Well in Ontario, Canada. Not all serve food, but their website for one location shows upscale bar food with daily specials.
The announcement promoted the Wilton location as a bar, restaurant, and nightclub.
The partnership is an international collab, with Ribson hailing from Ontario and having a background in hospitality, including ownership of bars as well as fast food. Basilico has lived in Wilton Manors since 2009 and was at Matty’s and Scandals.
When Hamburger Mary’s went up for sale in December, there were rumors that owners or employees of Scandals were going to move the bar to The Drive.
Despite its national popularity, Hamburger Mary’s has never quite fit in Wilton Manors. In 2006, owners escaped crippling franchise fees and rebranded as Rosie’s. When Mary’s returned in June 2021, it was rushed and unprepared for the massive crowds of Stonewall Pride.
While it did rebound somewhat, crowds always seemed event-driven. Often, the space would be mostly empty unless there was a show or special event.
The manager has already left, and people inside said there was uncertainty around hours and pay. In recent weeks, the mood improved as it was believed the new owners would keep the franchise.
Correction: This story originally stated the new business was owned by Jason Basilico and John Ribson. Basilico does not own the business. We regret the error.