ST. CHARLES – Actor and St. Charles resident Donnie Wahlberg greeted hundreds of adoring fans July 28 at the opening of his namesake restaurant in St. Charles.
Joining him was his wife, actress and television/radio host Jenny McCarthy. The Wahlburgers chain was founded by Chef Paul Wahlberg in partnership with his brothers, actors Mark Wahlberg and Donnie Wahlberg.
Wahlburgers is located at the southwest corner of Route 38 and Randall Road in St. Charles near the Meijer store. The restaurant had been set to open in April before Gov. JB Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Paul Wahlberg joked about opening the restaurant during a pandemic.
“I had it written down, ‘Be careful of pandemic,’ but I forgot that I wrote that down,” he said during a Zoom interview July 28.
The chef said it feels good to finally be able to open the restaurant.
“We’ve been chomping at the bit trying to get the place open,” he said. “We want people to come in and experience it. We want to give people an outlet, a place where they can go and feel some normalcy in their lives. So it’s hugely important for us.”
Paul Wahlberg took note of the number of people that showed up for the restaurant’s opening.
“It’s no surprise, especially when Donnie’s involved,” Paul Wahlberg said. “He has such a loyal following. And it’s amazing.”
He is thankful to the people who came to visit the restaurant on its opening day.
“We’re blessed by anyone who walks through the door,” he said. “We truly feel that way because there’s a lot of choices. There’s a lot of choices in this area. There’s a lot of choices everywhere.”
Paul Wahlberg said the restaurant is doing everything it can to keep its customers and employees safe during the pandemic.
“All of our employees are wearing masks, sanitizing every surface, social distancing – everything that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] requires, we’re following. And we go above and beyond. We’re in the restaurant business. So our job is to be clean. ... We want people to come here to feel safe and enjoy themselves and know that they’re going to be well taken care of.”
Besides the fact that his brother lives in St. Charles, Paul Wahlberg stressed the restaurant wants to be part of the fabric of the community.
“Wherever we go, we want to be part of the community because it’s important for us to know that this is a place that you can go and feel like it’s part of a neighborhood and part of a community.”
He is proud of the restaurant’s food, especially The Our Burger.
“It’s a classic burger,” he said. “It’s got lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, wahl sauce and our government cheese to remind us where we came from.”
Customers shouldn’t be surprised to see Mark Wahlberg dropping by the restaurant soon.
“He’ll probably be here in the next couple of weeks,” Paul Wahlberg said. “He’s filming right now. His work requires a little bit more travel than mine.”
The 5,000-square-foot casual restaurant and bar features an abundance of outdoor seating for al fresco dining and a one-of-a-kind immersive “Happy Place” area. The whimsical and social media-friendly corner of the restaurant will include a fun-filled and family-oriented pop-up art exhibit for guests to pose in front of for photos.
Wahlburgers St. Charles is located at 825 S. Randall Road and will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.