Wahlburgers just might be your new casual dining hotspot this summer and beyond in Manhattan. Its first location in NYC opened up earlier this year to much fanfare and hype, given the history of not only its restaurant but the reality series of the same name that has aired on the A&E network for seven seasons. With its superstar brothers behind it (Mark & Donnie), as well as its owner and head chef Paul creating the endless ideas for Wahlbugers menus, it seems as if the Boston based franchise is here to stay in The Big Apple.
We went to a media event they hosted recently to get an upfront look at it all, and were quite pleased by what they provided. It is very evident, based on what their CEO Rick Vanzura had to say, that the inspiration behind everything Wahlburgers is about comes down to family. So many of the menu ideas that they create come from their Wahlberg’s family background, and when you have that idea in your head you get the understanding that each dish is made with an extra amount of love in it.
Their Upper East Side location is on 2nd Avenue between 84th and 85th Street, which has a level of convenience added to it as it is right down the street from the newly minted Q line as well as the ever popular 4, 5 and 6 trains only two avenues away. The highlights of greens above its entry way are very obvious, and the space was packed once we got inside.
This is one of three locations in New York, as they also have one all the way in Coney Island and in my original hood of Long Island. This spot provided us with a fantastic media dinner that highlighted an assortment of great sandwiches, salads and more that were available for us at our disposal. Here are the highlights of what I personally liked the most.
Their Thanksgiving Day Sandwich and Portobello Sandwich were the two highlights for me in this sort of category, and they couldn’t be further from each other in terms of ingredients and execution. The former is like the sandwich you would have the day after Thanksgiving, in that it comes with stuffing, mayo, housemade orange-cranberry sauce & roasted butternut squash. The catch? It is all on a fresh ground seasoned turkey burger and not turkey itself, so there is a healthy component to this. Also, the orange-cranberry sauce is addicting in so many ways, and has such a delicious fruity texture and taste to it that really compliments the burger itself.
The Portobello Sandwich essentially is a portobello mushroom cap with all the tasty fixings including white cheddar, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce, tomato and their signature sauce. The portobello acts as a meat substitute with how hearty each bite is, and the onions are the best addition to this already great option.
For sides, instead of the general fries you should try their Sweet Potato Tots. I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes in general, and their Tots have a yummy sweetness to them that pairs well with each sandwich we tried. Also, they have SO MANY SAUCES. Endless sauces that range from Honey Mustard to Buffalo Sauce and so much more. We were in a saucy situation, and loved it.
Overall, Wahlburgers seems to have their stuff together when it comes to creating a great family-friendly environment and I look forward to coming back there for seconds and thirds.
For more information on Wahlburgers, please check out their official website.