First the Patriots beat the Steelers in an 11th-hour upset. Now the famous Wahlberg brothers — New Kids on the Block singer and “Blue Bloods” actor Donnie, underwear model/actor Mark and chef Paul, all on A&E’s “Wahlburgers” — are trying to seduce Pittsburghers with their Boston accents and their take on hamburgers.
The family shrine-slash-burger restaurant, Wahlburgers is now open in the south atrium of The Block Northway in Ross (6242 Northway Drive), the first Pittsburgh location of the Massachusetts-based chain. It’s the second in the state and one of more than 20 locations and counting across the country.
Wahlburgers is a hybrid take-out, fast-casual and sit-down restaurant with table service and a full bar with beer ($4 to $6), wine ($6 to $11) and cocktails such as sangria and margaritas ($9 to $11).
For those who gravitate toward over-the-top drinks, boozy frappes are made for Instagram, like the Fluffanuttahh ($13) with peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, marshmallow vodka and banana liqueur. It’s served in a mug coated with Marshmallow Fluff and topped with marshmallow-infused whipped cream.
Pay tribute to blue-collar Mass pride with an OFD — originally from “Dorchestah” — a Bostonian pronunciation of the neighborhood the brothers are from — a half-pound burger with Swiss, bacon, mushrooms and tomato jam. Otherwise single ($7.95), double ($8.95) and triple-decker burgers ($9.95) anchor the menu, all served with lettuce, tomato, onion, “government” cheese, “Wahl sauce” and pickles.
The menu also includes sloppy joes and bacon mac ’n’ cheese, along with novelties like the Thanksgiving Day sandwich in the form of a turkey burger, with stuffing, mayo, orange-cranberry sauce and roasted squash ($8.95). Some locations are featuring the ’Tis the Season burger with smoked bacon, smoked cheddar and roasted pumpkin.
The company has been on a rapid expansion kick, having signed a deal with Shanghai-based Cachet Hospitality Group and Middle East businessman Farooq Arjomand to open 200 locations across Asia and Latin America in the next decade.
While the U.S. expansion has unfurled at a moderate clip, it hasn’t been entirely successful. A location in New York’s Coney Island closed, and one in Times Square with a lease on a place never opened due to problems with the franchisee.
Wahlburgers enters a competitive burger market in Pittsburgh, with such local chains as Burgatory and BRGR, and national chains like Five Guys that have also been expanding in the region.
Hours may vary during soft opening through Jan. 1; call 412-536-3991 to check, says the website.
Melissa McCart: firstname.lastname@example.org; Instagram @postgazettefood; Facebook @postgazettefood