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Celebrity Founders Visit New Royal Oak Wahlburgers

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Royal Oak
Royal Oak’s newest burger joint got a star-powered boost on Monday.

Actor Mark Wahlberg and chef Paul Wahlberg, two of the trio of famous brothers behind the restaurant chain that bears — sort of — their name, stopped in at the just-opened Wahlburgers at 13 Mile and Woodward early Monday evening for a meet-and-greet with local movers and shakers and area celebrities.

The restaurant was packed by the time Mark Wahlberg, who was fashionably late, showed up, but the VIP crowd, munching on mini-burgers and sipping complimentary glasses of beer and wine, didn’t seem to mind. The actor, formerly known as Marky Mark from his days leading the hip-hop group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, was mobbed as he made his way through the dining areas, stopping often to pose with fans for photographs.

Wahlburgers, the first business to open in a still-developing plaza, Woodward Corners by Beaumont, officially fired up the grill on Aug. 8 and is building a philanthropic partnership with Beaumont Health, which runs Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and several affiliated area hospitals and medical centers, including an urgent care clinic in the new plaza.


The restaurant donated $1 for each burger sold over the previous weekend — a total of $1,150 — to Beaumont, and the Wahlberg brothers, earlier Monday, had stopped at the hospital to visit with patients. Beaumont executive vice president and chief operating officer Carolyn Wilson, in welcoming the Wahlbergs, said it was the beginning of a long partnership between them and Beaumont.

“I’ve never been to a hospital where I’ve felt so much love, so much joy, compassion and caring,” said Mark Wahlberg.

Wahlberg, a founding member of the boy band New Kids on the Block (he left after a short time), later took to acting and has appeared in “Boogie Nights,” “The Departed,” a “Planet of the Apes” remake, “The Fighter” and many other films.

Standing on a bench and using a microphone to be heard over the din, Wahlberg also gave a shout-out to Nino Cutraro, the Royal Oak Wahlburgers franchisee. The location is Cutraro’s 10th Walburgers franchise; he and the restaurateur had become “fast friends,” Mark Wahlberg said.

“He had no idea that he’d be running all over the planet opening restaurants” and becoming a celebrity with Paul Wahlberg, the actor said. Paul Wahlberg, a longtime chef, stars in “Wahlburgers,” an A&E Network reality show about the chain.


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Cutraro, who has been in the restaurant business for more than 40 years, said the Royal Oak location and the quality food and attention to service behind the Wahlburgers concept make the restaurant stand out. Cutraro and wife Liz also own Bella Piatti, an upscale Italian restaurant in Birmingham.

The Wahlburgers menu offers three kinds of house burgers (single-, double- and triple-decker), specialty burgers like The Fiesta Burger (a half-pounder with Southwestern accents like jalapeños and salsa) and The Beast (two five-ounce burgers with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and more), sandwiches (Portobello, chicken, fish and a sloppy Joe), salads and sides. There are also turkey burgers and plant-based Impossible Burgers for those looking for alternatives to beef.

Paul, the oldest of the Wahlberg boys — middle brother Donnie, also an actor and founding New Kids member, didn’t make Monday’s event — praised the new location and its first few days in business.

“It’s been unbelievable. The whole development is spectacular,” Paul said as guests waited to pose with him for selfies. “We’re just very, very blessed.”

Partnering with Beaumont, Paul Wahlberg said, is important for himself and his brothers because they came from humble origins and want to give back.

Wahlburgers guest Pat Brown, of Grosse Pointe Farms, was at the hospital Monday for Mark Wahlberg’s visit with himself, his wife and their three children, including son Hudson, 6, who has been treated for brain cancer. The actor sent Hudson a video greeting when Hudson finished radiation treatment earlier this year, Brown said, and said they could meet in person the next time he came to town. Treatments appear to have worked, and Hudson is having “a nice, normal summer,” Brown said.

“Super kind,” Brown said of Wahlberg. “He came in with a little bag of gifts for the kids” and stayed and talked with them, he said.

Wahlburgers is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays.

30955 Woodward
Royal Oak













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