The long-anticipated Wahlburgers, that’s been under construction at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel for over a year, has finally set an official opening date. On November 15, Torontonians will have the pleasure of indulging in the special grind burger established by the famous Wahlberg brothers Donnie, Mark, and Paul. However, if you can’t wait that long, you can get a taste of Marky Mark’s juicy meat as they are already open in soft launch.
The original Wahlburgers opened just outside the brothers’ hometown of Boston, so we were thrilled when we found out that the 416 would be home to their second location. If that’s not a sign that Toronto might just be the LA of the North, we don’t know what is. But let’s not congratulate ourselves too fast. With an Emmy-nominated A&E reality show helping to make Wahlburgers a household name, they plan on opening three more stores in 2015 (the first being in Las Vegas).
Lucky for you (and us), we got a sneak peek of the new Wahlburgers and think Toronto’s burger boys definitely have some tough competition. While Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg remains at the helm of the original restaurant’s kitchen, the chef taking over the Toronto back-of-house is Vincent Lueng — of Senses Restaurant and Susur Lee’s Luckee.
The space is quite large, spread over two storeys with a full service dining/bar area on the main floor. For those who want more of a fast-food experience, there is a take-out counter and casual seating on the second floor. Decked out in the brand’s signature bright green colour, TVs are mounted throughout the space to give it a sports bar vibe. Don’t worry — that doesn’t mean the Bruins and Red Sox are all you’ll get. Guests can expect to watch all the Toronto games and, more interestingly, all the Boston games. Boston vs. Toronto game-nights should be quite something…
So let’s talk about the food. The menu is well-rounded, with a focus on family favourites like Mark’s choice, the “Thanksgiving Burger” (basically Thanksgiving dinner on a bun); and Paul’s top choice, “Our Burger” (a classic burger with tomato, onion, lettuce, dill pickle, government cheese, and Paul’s special Wahl sauce). One bite in and it’s clear that the burger is all about their secret beef grind — which we tried to get out of Chef Leung without success. Unless otherwise requested, all burgers are cooked medium rare — making the experience very juicy and messy (in a good way). For those who avoid carbs, good news! All burgers can be served on a lettuce bun instead of their soft potato bun, and gluten-free buns will be available soon as well.
Also on the menu are options like the “Mushroom Cap Burger,” which uses mushrooms in place of a traditional patty. Donnie and Jenny McCarthy also have their spot on the menu with “Jenn’s Chicken Sandwich” (seared chicken breast, both caramelized and crispy onions, lettuce, and her honey garlic mayo), Donnie’s choice, the “BBQ Bacon Burger.” Burgers are served on their own and will run you about $10.00 to $12.00. If you can find the room, the sweet potato tater tots pack a punch of delicious flavour.
Need a drink just thinking about all that meat? The cocktail program is not to be ignored, with their unique Wahlcoctions (a.k.a. boozy milkshakes) making their debut, as well as the special “Wahlbrewski” beer on tap (commissioned by Mill Street Brewery).
Located across the street from Gretzky’s, the new Wahlburgers is not only bringing more deliciousness to the sports strip but also additional star power. Mark your calendars – November 15 is the day you want to be on Blue Jays Way. Just make sure you’re looking your best. Word on the street is the Wahlberg studs might be in town for the grand opening.