Tapping into a rabid and supremely loyal fan base, the arrival of the first Wahlburgers in Las Vegas comes with a tidal wave of hype and A&E camera crews chronicling every step.
Next read: Eater.com's America's 21 essential hamburgers.
The casual burger chain was created in Hingham, Mass., with chef Paul Wahlberg at the helm. With his mother Alma, and famous brothers Donnie and Mark, the clan's hit Wahlburgers reality TV show is loosely based around the restaurant's daily business, family dramas and their heady nationwide expansion plans.
During the latest episode, "Viva Las Paul," actor and New Kids On the Block star Donnie attempted to enthuse pragmatic chef Paul about the first of their three promised Las Vegas locations. As Eater Vegas has exclusively revealed, Wahlburgers will sit at the rear of the Bally's resort's still under construction Grand Bazaar Shops, occupying a ground floor space close to the escalator leading guests into the hotel and casino.
One of the local investors explains it is "one of the best restaurant spaces on the Strip" and ever optimistic Donnie can barely contain his excitement. "This location is a no-brainer. Yes, there are bad risks to take in Las Vegas. This ain't one of them."
On the outside of the empty shell the brothers debate the merits and design of a huge Wahlburgers sign, with Donnie gushing he wants tourists to see the names of "The Cosmopolitan, the Wynn and then the Wahlburgers."
Still nervous, chef Paul starts to come around when he steps into the interior 2,000-square-foot space, realizing, "It's a great spot in the middle of everything. We've got great ceiling heights. Great frontage. It's going to be amazing."
The Grand Bazaar Shops will begin officially hosting the first of their 120 retail tenants on Feb. 26. An opening date for Wahlburgers has not yet been announced, nor has their arrival even been confirmed by Bally's. The full "Viva Las Paul" episode is now available online for viewing.
Of note, New Kids On the Block play the Mandalay Bay Events Center on May 1.