by Jacqui Busick
Courtesy of 44blue.com
Paul Wahlberg opened the first Wahlburgers restaurant in 2011 in Hingham, MA. In 2014 the A&E reality TV show, Wahlburgers, aired and several other restaurant locations popped up in the Northeast and Las Vegas. Finally, the Boston family franchise made its way to Fenway in October 2015.
Wahlburgers invites its guests to join the family; “Stop in, sit down, and make memories with us,” their website says.
At the Fenway location you can either order at the counter or continue on to the back room for a sit-down dining experience.
The wall across from the bar of the dine-in section of the restaurant has large Red Sox jersey numbers displayed to fit in with the Fenway street scene. The rest of the walls have posters of movies that Mark Wahlberg has been in; the whole atmosphere of the restaurant is amusing and visually interesting. Like any sportsy restaurant, there are TVs playing relevant football games, but this restaurant also has clips from its own reality TV show playing on every other screen.
Diners can expect a level of cuisine equal to that of Tasty Burger, another Fenway favorite, just with a bit more quirk and variety. The Wahlburgers menu guides you through its burgers, “Wahlfaves,” sides, salads and desserts with helpful advice from each of the family members.
For example, the BBQ Bacon Burger is designated “Donnie’s Choice” with a little green bubble by its name. The menu appropriately describes this choice as “a spiced up weekend barbeque on a bun.” The burger is topped with white cheddar cheese, bacon and jalapeños.
Joe Ellis, a senior at Wentworth Institute of Technology, particularly appreciates the BBQ Bacon Burger’s toppings.
“I loved how the avocado brought out the bacon,” said Ellis. “It was great. Everyone should experience this burger.”
Since good quality meat and delicious buns are a Boston burger standard, Wahlburgers distinguishes itself with higher quality toppings than the typical burger joint.
Considering the city of Boston has a high population of more-than-decent burgers, Wahlburgers may or may not be the type of burger place that you would go completely out of your way for.
Nick Napolitano, a recent Bentley University graduate, had this in mind as he enjoyed The Melt, a decadent burger sandwich on thick cut bread with caramelized onions, cheese, bacon and more.
Photo by Jacqui Busick
“It’s a little higher tier because of the pricing and menu,” said Napolitano. “I’m curious to see how this place does because there are so many burger places in Boston.”
The most interesting item on the menu is thanks to the most famous Wahlberg brother. “Mark’s Choice” of burger is The Thanksgiving Day: a turkey burger, stuffing and cranberry sauce sandwiched between a toasted buttery bun. This burger is also not just limited to the three days after the holiday, but is on the menu year-round.
The Thanksgiving Day is enjoyable and familiar, but it is not life-changing, like the concept of ordering a fluffernutter sandwich after your meal. The Fluffanutta, complete with nutella, peanut butter, banana and fluff, is toasted and warm, too; it is exactly the edible pep-talk you need before your cold walk back to Kenmore.
Alena Adams (COM ’16) was thrilled to see the Fluffanutta on the menu. She commented, however, that it is a “brilliant idea that could have been executed better if the portion of fluff and peanut butter to banana was better,” said Adams.
While the Hingham Wahlburgers is an established tourist destination, the Fenway Wahlburgers seems to be more suited to its order-at-the-counter option than a nicer dine-in experience.
The restaurant’s signature “Wahlsauce” is a favorite amongst regulars. Though the proportion of sauce to meat on the Triple Decker could be higher, the “Wahlsauce” goes especially well with their tater tots.
To sip, Wahlburgers has frappés, cocktails, local beer, Spindrift sodas and the standard restaurant beverage selection. You could even order an “adult” frappé, like the S’mores frappe, which is made with chocolate ice cream, marshmallow vodka, chocolate syrup and graham cracker crumble.
The menu is also flexible to dietary preferences, with a vegetarian mushroom burger and a selection of salads. You can also choose to have your BBQ Bacon Burger with a turkey patty instead of beef, or have any burger with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.
Above all, the location is perfect for before a movie or ballgame, after a Target trip, meeting up with friends from the Colleges of the Fenway, or just wandering slightly off campus. Don’t hesitate to pop by if you’re in the neighborhood.