The long awaited Wahlburgers in Orlando is finally open!
I was lucky enough to score a coveted spot to their invite only VIP grand opening party held at their new Downtown restaurant- which is the first Florida location so far.
As you can imagine, the street was shut down and filled with hundreds of fans eagerly waiting to get a glimpse of the Wahlberg brothers, Paul and Mark.
Donnie unfortunately couldn't attend due to a prior work engagement.
A&E cameras were also present filming for the brother's reality TV show, Wahlburgers, now on their 5th season- premiering on March 9th.
The restaurant, located in the SunTrust Building at the corner of Church Street and Orange Avenue, was only open for the VIP guests that night.
Among the VIPs included Johnny's House from XL 106.7, former N’Syncer Joey Fatone, attorney and billboard giant Mark NeJame, franchise investors and owners and Orlando city officials.
The grand opening red carpet event brought a lot of excitement and attention to the downtown Orlando area.
The brothers raved about Orlando saying that it was the perfect spot to start their franchise in Florida. Other locations are rumored to be in the works, including Miami and Tampa.
Owner, Manny Garcia, signed a deal that will bring 20 Wahlburgers locations throughout Florida over the next several years.
"These agreements put us closer to our vision of making Wahlburgers a happy part of people's lives across America and around the world. Donnie, Paul, and I appreciate the support of our fans and all those who love great burgers," said Mark Wahlberg.
Mark Wahlberg said it’s his job to bring as much attention as possible to the brand but humbly gives all the credit to his brother Paul, who serves as the restaurant’s executive chef.
“People may come in to the restaurant out of curiosity because of myself or Donnie but the reason why they’re going to come back is because of the experience that Paul provides,” said Mark Wahlberg.
I've been to a few grand openings before but nothing compares to this one. The amount of people and love shown was incomparable.
Even though the party was inside the restaurant, both Paul and Mark made sure to say hi to everyone waiting outside.
Everybody was drawn in by the brothers... and of course the food!
All of their burgers are made with quality, fresh ingredients that are classic favorites with a few creative spins.
The Wahlberg brothers are the real deal- super talented and so down to earth. I can't say enough about them. Genuinely nice guys!
Before the event came to an end, Mark and Paul went outside and shared a touching speech and toast with everyone from the VIP party, as well as their devoted fans that had been waiting outside for hours.
After the toast, Mark was whisked away but Paul, being hands on, stayed behind to make sure everything ran smoothly inside the restaurant.
I stayed behind for some more food... What a shocker!
Not pictured but I highly suggest getting the onion rings- crispy fried Bermuda onions sliced thin, tossed in sea salt and parsley. They were everything!!
And this is coming from someone who hates onion rings.
Get them... and everything else on their menu!