Underwear models, superstar musicians, actors, producers, ex-cons — what in the world do the Wahlbergs have left to prove? How about opening some hamburger joints in their hometown?
One of Boston’s best-known families has taken to making delicious meat patties, and you can watch every tantalizing moment if you tune in to “Wahlburgers,” premiering Wednesday, Jan. 22, on A&E Network. That’s right, “Wahlburgers.”
The unscripted series gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the restaurant business as brothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg return to Beantown and join forces with their older brother, Paul, in the new venture.
“It’ll be called ‘Wahlburgers,’ just like the burgers,” said Donnie when he announced the new series on “Arsenio.” “[People] called us that as kids, they’d tease me, they’d say ‘Wahlburger’ — if they weren’t calling me ‘Junior Jailbird,’ because of my older brothers being inmates all the time. … We got the last laugh and opened a burger joint with the name.”
And while Mark (“Boogie Nights,” “The Italian Job”) and Donnie (New Kids on the Block, “Blue Bloods”) are no strangers to the spotlight, it’s Paul’s turn to shine as he takes on the challenges of running a burger joint with the family name on it. As the “most talented sibling” in the Wahlberg clan, Paul is executive chef at not only the new hamburger joint but also the family’s other well-respected culinary venture, Alma Nove, an Italian restaurant in Hingham, Mass.
But even with his brothers’ full support, this proves no easy task as Paul regularly gets caught up in a whirlwind of bustling kitchens, an impending expansion and everything in between.
Not surprisingly, at the heart of the family — and the chaos — is the matriarch of the Wahlberg clan, Alma. She’s still the one the boys look to for approval. The battle to be her favorite is constant among the guys, who don’t make any big decisions without their mother’s backing. She isn’t afraid to step in and speak her mind, and when she does, everyone listens. It seems the Wahlberg brothers know their limits.
And though we’ll certainly see a lot of the family on the show (it’s one of Mark and Donnie’s excuses to come back home), the characters we’ll get the most mileage from are the gang from the old neighborhood.
In fact, action seems to follow Mark and Donnie’s original entourage, such as Johnny “Drama” Alves and Henry “Nacho” Laun. These childhood pals are great at taking advantage of old friendships, especially when it comes to a free burger. We also meet Mark’s childhood friend and former partner in crime, Billy Leonard, who is by Mark’s side whenever he’s in town and keeps him up to date when he’s not.
If nothing else, as we witnessed from Mark’s Calvin Klein days, the Wahlbergs know how to deliver some first-rate buns.