Celebrity Founders Visit New Royal Oak Wahlburgers
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.
“I’ve never been to a hospital where I’ve felt so much love, so much joy, compassion and caring,” said Mark Wahlberg.
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.
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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.
“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.
“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.