Five Marys Burgers in Fort Jones
● By Enjoy Magazine
Burgers & Beyond
Story by Jason Burkleo
Photos by Taryn Burkleo
BRIAN LOVES FIVE MARYS. He loves his wife Mary, and he loves his four daughters, who are also each named Mary. Together, they are the Heffernan family, and in 2013 they left their busy urban life in search of a place that their drifting hearts could call home. It didn’t take them long to realize that Fort Jones was that place. This small Northern California ranching community, nestled against the backdrop of the Marble Mountains, is the perfect place for the Heffernans to cultivate their two great passions: family and good food. Five Marys Farms is the fruit of these passions and its success is proof that many people share their values.
Five Marys Farms is a family owned and operated ranch that raises premium healthy meat. As far as Mary and Brian were concerned, that is all they ever thought it would be. Mary had owned and managed multiple restaurants in the Bay Area, and while she did enjoy that season of her life, she had decided she was done with the restaurant business. Instead, the Heffernans envisioned a place for customers to get quality meat directly from their ranch. So they found a small building in town to use as a shipment facility. Always the entrepreneurs, however, they couldn’t help but notice the old local bar down the street. They looked into buying the building to use for processing meat. It wasn’t what they needed, but Mary said to herself, “It would be great if someone would fix this place up as a restaurant.”
A few months later, the Heffernan family found themselves renovating an old bar and beginning yet another extension of the ranch. The Five Marys Burger House opened on the evening of December 31, 2017. What was supposed to be a “soft opening” turned into a packed house with more than 200 customers, and things are not slowing down.
Mary says their vision for the Burger House is simple: “We want to share our meat.” From the meat in their burgers to the blackberries in the jam, almost all the food they serve comes from the ranch. They have even started producing their own small-batch whiskey. Most staff are Siskiyou County residents but some have traveled from as far as Arizona to be a part of the Five Marys family. From the family playroom to the couch by the wood stove every aspect of the restaurant echoes Mary’s words: “We love this community. We love being here.” Everything they sell is what they use personally. The spice rub they sell is what they put on their own steak. The clothing they sell is what they like to wear.
The Burger House isn’t just an extension of the ranch, but an extension of the Heffernan family. When they first moved to the ranch, they planned on living in the 800-square-foot ranch house only until they could build a new home. Five years later, they are still in the ranch house and have no desire to change. They love the intimacy that comes from the close quarters, however there does seem to be one very large problem – they can’t invite everyone in the community over for dinner because their house and their table are just too small. Good thing they opened a restaurant. •
Five Marys Burger House
11825 Main Street, Fort Jones