Whether you love him or hate him, it’s safe to bet that you have at least heard of Mark Wahlberg. What many people haven’t heard, though, is that Mark’s brother, Paul Wahlberg (or Paulberg as I’ve nicknamed him), decided to rally the family and open a burger chain. It’s appropriately named Wahlburgers. Note: there is an entire TV show about this, which I was unaware of until arriving at the restaurant.
Wahlburgers was a perfectly punny name for what was a horrendously underwhelming burger chain. I love Mark and wouldn’t want to tarnish his family’s name, but good God were these burgers more average than Paul Rudd playing checkers. The single cheeseburger with bacon I ordered came in at around $10 and I would have rather had a McDonald’s quarter-pounder with cheese.
The greatest explanation of Wahlburgers’s failure, though, does not come from me, but from the friend who came along to try it with me. He ordered what was possibly the craziest burger on the menu: “The Beast.” Two 5 oz. burger patties, lettuce, tomato, pickles, PULLED PORK, housemade blue cheese dressing, BBQ sauce; for the hell of it he got bacon, too.
You know what he had to say about what should have been a flavor explosion?
“For me it was just kind of bland.”
I thought that my burger was bland, but to hear one of their more over-the-top offerings was also bland cemented in my mind what I did not expect: that Wahlburgers was all hype and no substance.
My friend went on to say “given the name, I expected one of those ‘gourmet/specialty’ burger types of places, and it wasn’t really that. There were something like four burgers on the menu and they were all very similar and unexciting.”
Wahlburgers also offers their own beer called “Wahlbrewski” (they really should have stopped at Wahlburger). The beer is the only redeeming factor of my experience there, which is sad because it was a pretty system-standard double IPA, overpriced at $6.50 per pint.
Some might say customers are paying for the name, but it’s not even Mark’s name. Not to be too mean, but I really couldn’t care less about paying extra to eat at a burger joint opened by Mark’s brother.
If you want to check Wahlburgers out for yourself, or if you’re a huge fan of the A&E original series “Wahlburgers,” their newest location just opened at 1033 N. 2nd street at The Piazza in Fishtown, a 10-minute trolley ride from Temple’s main campus.
Marky Mark, if you’re reading this: please don’t sue me and bring back The Funky Bunch.