Mark Walhberg (A.K.A “Marky Mark”) never showed up to Saturday’s official Wahlburger launch and party (we were told by PR he had last-minute “work commitments.”)
But his brother Donnie did, accompanied by his new wife, the seemingly ageless Jenny McCarthy, making for a PDA-filled walk down memory lane made in pre-teen heaven of times past.
Apparently the Wahlberg brothers are still as big of a deal as they were back in the day… because “mayhem” is the only way to describe the Wahlburgers official Canadian launch in Toronto on Saturday. Then again, their reality show is apparently pretty huge as well.
Blue Jays Way was closed off, guarded by some of the city’s finest police officers and security guards, who also manned the bright green carpet that ran from the Soho Metropolitan Sen5es doors all the way down to the new restaurant. The crowd of screaming fans waited in the cold for hours (as in, all day) to catch a glimpse of the stars, with the blasting music and the hope for a celeb selfie apparently worth the potential frostbite.
Yet,the crowd and the media waited. And waited.
We told you that the burgers are pretty sweet, but we have a feeling everyone was there for the same reason as us: nostalgia. Marky Mark played a huge role in our childhood, but it doesn’t get much more nostalgic than the original boy band, New Kids on the Block, and former heartthrob Donnie Walhberg (it was either him or Joey, right?). Let’s not forget that McCarthy graced countless bedroom walls and lockers at one point.
Also in attendance was brother Paul Walhberg (the chef behind the whole restaurant vision), and notorious Toronto man-child/party boy/Bay Street superstar and Walhburgers partner Michael Wekerle. “Wek” – complete with a fresh facial party wound – was wilder (and less coherent) than ever.
But hey, at least he offered some comic relief to the freezing media on the green carpet.
Here’s what also went down in our chats with Wahlberg, McCarthy and Wekerle…
“We all considered this our second home, and I want to thank all the New Kids on the Block fans out there. This journey started with my brother Paul; it was his idea to open a hamburger joint and name it using the name associated with my brother and I. It wasn’t just a burger joint, but a name we wanted to take around the world. There’s not a better location on earth to have our second location.”
– Donnie Walhberg.
“We hope we fit into the proud line of amazing restaurants and burger spots in the city, to find our niche and hopefully last for a long time. And we’ll get poutine on the menu soon too.” – Donnie Walhberg.
“My favourite is the Weke Burger – it’s a hot mess. It’s hot peppers, one burger, two slices of cheese…”
– Michael Wekerle.
On who they’d most want to share a Wahlburger with:
“My wife. And our kids,” said Donnie.
“Yeah, our kids. My son just tried a Wahlburger for the first time – with me for the first time – and loved it. Oh, and with my dad, who’s also here,” added McCarthy.
On Favourite Spots in Toronto:
“Queen Street. I like that it’s somewhere that’s self-contained and easy to walk from place to place.”
“I love furniture shopping here. I love the Queen West strip of antique stores and rugs.”
On Wekerle’s Notorious Party Boy Ways:
“Wekerle is a great business partner… but I don’t understand a single word he’s speaking tonight; I thought Canadians spoke English,” joked Donnie. “Under the craziness is a very, very astute man.”
“I don’t drink any more; I don’t drink any less,” said Wek, when asked if we can expect some wild nights at Wahlburgers.
Hmmm. So that’s a yes?
You’ll have to check it out for yourself.
All images by: George Pimentel