ST. CHARLES – In March, hundreds of people came out to see actor, singer and St. Charles resident Donnie Wahlberg break ground on his signature Wahlburgers restaurant.
Work has started on the restaurant, which will be built at the southwest corner of Route 38 and Randall Road in St. Charles near the Meijer store. The restaurant chain is owned by chef Paul Wahlberg in partnership with two of his brothers, Donnie and Mark. Donnie Wahlberg his wife, actress and television/radio host Jenny McCarthy, live in St. Charles.
"The footings are in the ground and construction has started on Wahlburgers and the adjacent Starbucks," St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina said in the latest edition of the city newsletter.
The name of the third business on the site has yet to be named, he said.
Wahlburgers recently opened its first location in Chicago, which is a topic of discussion on the May 29 episode of the Wahlburgers reality TV show, which ended its run last month. During the episode, Wahlberg hears from McCarthy that the mayor isn't pleased the Chicago Wahlburgers restaurant opened before the one in St. Charles.
"Mayor Rogina is an awesome guy," Wahlberg says during the episode. "He's been nothing but supportive and is really the main reason there's a Wahlburgers coming to St. Charles."
The episode features Wahlberg sitting down with Rogina at the St. Charles Municipal Center.
"I would be remiss if I didn't tell you right out of the gate here that one of the top three questions that are asked of me is when is Wahlburgers going to open up in St. Charles?" Rogina says to Wahlberg. "Now, let's add to that the following – I'm reading the Sun-Times one day and what do I see? I see your brother's picture in there and I see they're opening a Wahlburgers in Chicago in March. So now, it's like double jeopardy."
Wahlberg explains to Rogina the Chicago restaurant is run by a different franchise owner.
"The whole state of Illinois belonged to a different franchisee who had the rights to it," he said. "But I wanted to do St. Charles so I went to everyone involved in the restaurant at the corporate level and to the franchisee in Illinois and told him that I wanted St. Charles. It took a little arm twisting, but I got them to agree."
Wahlberg tells Rogina his son – who attended St. Charles East High School – also always gets asked when the restaurant in St. Charles will open.
"He asked me during the hearing process if I could maybe wait until after the new year to break ground instead of rushing it into October," Wahlberg said. "So I knew there was a race to beat Chicago, which I wanted to do and I wanted St. Charles to have that feather in their cap. I don't think it's going to have an impact on St. Charles at all, the Chicago location."
The St. Charles City Council approved the restaurant's plans in June 2018.
Rogina replied, "Please, whatever you do, let's get the groundbreaking going, let's get the mojo working in St. Charles and I'll be a very happy camper."
Later on in the episode, Wahlberg explains that he wants the location in St. Charles "to be unlike any Wahlburgers location in the world."
The episode also features Rogina visiting the home of Wahlberg and McCarthy and seeing the memorabilia – including Emmy awards and platinum records – that they plan to display in the new Wahlburgers restaurant in St. Charles.
In addition, it features footage from the March 22 groundbreaking ceremony for the new restaurant.