ST. CHARLES – The first Wahlburgers restaurant in Illinois is on track to open next year at the southwest corner of Route 38 and Randall Road in St. Charles near the Meijer store.
Wahlburgers is a casual dining burger restaurant and bar owned by chef Paul Wahlberg in partnership with two of his brothers, actors Donnie and Mark. Donnie Wahlberg and his wife, actress and television/radio host Jenny McCarthy, live in St. Charles.
Wahlberg and McCarthy were married at the Hotel Baker in St. Charles in 2014. A representative for Wahlburgers said the St. Charles restaurant is expected to open in the first quarter of 2019.
Construction has not yet started. Donnie Wahlberg appeared at the June 4 St. Charles City Council meeting seeking approval for the plans.
The City Council approved the plans that night. Wahlberg's appearance before the City Council aired on a recent episode of the “Wahlburgers” TV show.
During the episode, he voiced his concerns that the City Council might not approve the plans.
"St. Charles doesn’t need Wahlburgers," he said on the show. "The question is, have I done enough to convince them to want Wahlburgers? “This is one of those instances where fame and a famous last name is not necessarily going to help.”
During his appearance before the City Council, he told aldermen and Mayor Ray Rogina about the restaurant's target market.
“This is a family restaurant,” he told them. “It’s for real working people. This is where we need to target, places like St. Charles.”
The episode also shows Donnie Wahlberg at the St. Charles History Museum.
“I want to try to incorporate some history there,” he said at the museum.
St. Charles Museum Executive Director Alison Costanzo talked to Wahlberg about the museum and told him the history of another business that was located in the city that promoted a condiment that people like to put on burgers – pickles.
Pickle Packers International was founded in 1892 as a promotional agency responsible for educating consumers about the benefits of pickles. The non-profit agency relocated to the St. Charles area in the early 1960s. CEO William Moore lived in St. Charles.
"Bill ‘The Dill’ Moore was all about promoting the consumption of pickles,” she told him.
She told him that he was able to get St. Charles named the “Pickle Capital of the World.” No pickles were actually grown or manufactured in St. Charles, she noted.
“It just was to promote the consumption of pickles,” Costanzo said.