Familial roots have a major influence on Paul Wahlberg as executive chef of Wahlburgers
, the Hingham, Massachusetts-based restaurant franchise he owns with brothers Donnie and Mark.
As the company prepares to open its first Wisconsin location on Sept. 24
, Wahlberg led members of the media on a tour of The Corners of Brookfield restaurant. He shared personal stories and insight on operating a family-owned restaurant.
The chain is known for its signature burgers, home-style sides, specialty cocktails and adult frappes and floats.
"Food is very sensory thing and it can bring you to a very specific time and place in your life, which is pretty amazing," Wahlberg said. "If someone can have something that roots them back to their grandmother's kitchen, that's pretty special."
The restaurant's decor, which includes 1970s-era wood paneling and industrial-style accents, is a nod to the Wahlbergs' childhood home and humble beginnings. The "dining room" area of the space has large family portraits hanging on the wall.
"It's more about the restaurant experience for me," Wahlberg said. "The celebrity aspect is great but its not everything. Sit down with your family, enjoy yourself, have great food, have food that is really cared for and watch a game."
The 6,000-square-foot restaurant can seat a total of 237 people and includes 16 large-screen TVs.
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 24, the Brookfield location will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee, which is currently in the process of opening Wahlburgers’ second Wisconsin franchise,
operates the Brookfield location.
The second franchise is under construction at 322 N. Broadway in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. An opening date has not yet been set, but an announcement will likely come before the end of the year, a Hy-Vee representative said.
Hy-Vee also operates Wahlburgers locations at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota; Olathe, Kansas; and West Des Moines, Iowa. In 2017, it announced plans to build, own and operate 26 Wahlburgers franchises.
Wahlburgers currently has almost 40 locations in 19 states, Canada and the U.K.
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