Latest opening: Wahlburgers

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Wahlburgers restaurant opening

Related tags: QSR, Burgers, London, Restaurant, Celebrity, Covent garden, American cuisine

Wahlburgers, the US burger chain owned by actor Mark Wahlberg and his brothers Paul and Donnie, has finally opened its first European location in London’s Covent Garden.

What:
The first European site for casual dining burger and bar chain Wahlburgers, which operates more than 25 restaurants and food trucks across the US and Canada.

Who:
Chef Paul Wahlberg, who founded the chain in 2011 in his hometown of Hingham, Massachusetts with brothers Mark and Donnie as partners (the brothers having previously launched Italian-Mediterranean restaurant Alma Nove – named after their mother – in Hingham also). The brand has gradually grown in both the US and Canada, with restaurant locations now including Toronto, Orlando and Las Vegas. It also operates a number of food trucks in locations including Philadelphia, Boston and Palo Alto.

The food:
As you would expect from the name, burgers are the cornerstone of the Wahlburgers menu, with the beef patties made from a blend of brisket short rib and chuck steak, and cooked medium rare. The Our burger, which the menu claims is Paul’s favourite, is available in a single, double or triple stack (ranging from £9 to £14.50) and served with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and ‘signature’ Wahl sauce that’s made in house. The menu also includes several ‘speciality’ options including a Super Melt sandwich (£11.50) that features a half-pound patty served on thick-cut white bread with cheese, bacon, onions, pickles and mustard sauce; and a plant-based burger made by vegan food brand Moving Mountains (£11.50). Sides feature the standard selection of fries and onion rings with the addition of tater tots (£3 - £3.50). And there’s also a short menu of larger side dishes, including a ‘housemade’ chili (£7) and a smoked bacon mac ‘n cheese that’s curiously served with penne pasta rather than macaroni.

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The vibe:
Wahlburgers may be the brainchild Paul Wahlberg, but it’s his Oscar-nominated brother Mark whose figure dominates the décor of the Covent Garden site with posters from a number of Marky Mark’s most successful films – including Lone Survivor, Ted and Transformers – adorning the walls. It’s a big restaurant - 6,500 square-feet with almost 200 covers – but lacks a grand, eye-catching visual appearance; the pallid white and green colour-scheme matching the brand’s logo. And while it has the air of a premium QSR restaurant a ’la Five Guys and Smashburger, the focus on table service means there’s more formality.

And another thing:
As well as operating restaurants across the US, Canada and now in London, Wahlburgers also has an accompanying reality TV show, named Wahlburgers (appropriately), which is due to end its run in the US this summer after 10 seasons. Those curious about the show will be able to watch episodes while they dine in the Covent Garden restaurant, although based on a cursory viewing the show doesn’t appear to consist of much more than watching the brothers Wahlberg travel around the States on a private jet and having long lunches at their family home.

Related topics: Venues

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