Fans were lined up Wednesday morning as Chicago’s first Wahlburgers finally opened its doors today in River North. The long-awaited location from Massachusetts-based burger chain by celebrity Mark Wahlberg and brothers Paul (executive chef) and Donnie attracted hordes of hungry fans for the 11 a.m. opening at 2 E. Ontario Street.
The interiors celebrate the Wahlbergs’s celebrity. The ceiling is covered with movie titles the Wahlbergs appeared in, including Boogie Nights and Ted 2, and a reference to Donnie Wahlberg and wife Jenny McCarthy (“Donnie Loves Jenny”). Though the Wahlbergs are proud of their Massachusetts roots, they’ve also pandered to locals with Chicago decorations including a depiction of the Bean.
The space includes a bar that serves wine, cocktails, and draft beers from local purveyors Three Floyds, Goose Island, and Lagunitas. It also offers the “Wahlbrewski,” a custom unfiltered pale ale from Boston-based Harpoon Brewery. Diners can expect thick patties piled with toppings and condiments, including the “O.F.D.” (“Originally From Dorchestah”), a half-pound beef patty with sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, bacon, and tomato jam; and a Thanksgiving turkey burger topped with stuffing, orange-cranberry sauce, and roasted butternut squash.
Beyond the legion of fans that have followed the Funky Bunch to A&E reality television, the Wahlbergs are used to attention. About 500 supporters flocked to the groundbreaking of Wahlburgers’s St. Charles location in March, according to the Daily Herald. Donnie Wahlberg calls the suburb his home.
The 5,000 square-foot restaurant is the Wahlberg’s 30th in North America. Take a look at the new River North space below.
Wahlburgers, 2 E. Ontario Street, open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.