Port Jefferson Station has some new kids on the block.
The Wahlberg family, of Hollywood and boy band fame, has brought its restaurant chain to Port Jefferson Station. The “lucky 13th” Wahlburgers, as general manager for the restaurant Amani Mousa referred to it in a phone interview, is located at 4837 Nesconset Highway and opened last week. The business announced its opening with a Facebook post Dec. 8 that read “call ya mutha, we’re open.”
The menu features choices created by the chain’s head chef, Paul Wahlberg, who is the brother of the more commonly known Mark and Donnie. Mousa said the idea behind the restaurant and its menu is to provide customers with wholesome, comfort food and an environment that preaches the Wahlbergs’ family values — with hospitality coming from the heart.
“It reflects the Wahlbergs’ lifestyle growing up,” Mousa said of the family-friendly chain, which has another New York location in Coney Island to go along with the Port Jefferson Station spot.
Wahlburgers offers fresh burgers, homemade condiments, chicken sandwiches, frappes (which can be spiked), a full bar and even macaroni and cheese named after Alma Wahlberg, the mother of the famous brothers. Some of the grill items are inspired by the father, Donald Wahlberg. All of the condiments are made in-house, from scratch, by the chef. The restaurant has several televisions around a full bar, and is decorated with photos of the entire Wahlberg family.
“While our menu has evolved, one thing that remains the same is our commitment to serving you the freshest possible meals and providing a place where your family and friends can make fond memories,” the company’s mission states on its website. “We’re not kidding when we say that making you happy, makes us happy.”
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and offers a hybrid style, with full-service dining, take-out or counter service options. It is located in the building that previously played host to Road Trip American Ale House and El Dorado Bar and Grill. Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Director of Operations Barbara Ransome said she hopes the location finally has a partner with some staying power.
“It seems like an appropriate venue for these types of restaurants — why they’re not surviving, I’m not sure,” Ransome said. “The location is good … it’s in that area where people are looking for that type of food and it’s family-orientated.”
Ransome said Wahlburgers is not yet a member of the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.
Mousa said she is excited about the location because of the shear volume of cars that pass it on a daily basis, and believes that will lead to success.
Reviews on the location’s Facebook page are mixed so far, with complaints about wait times and slow service, though some raved about the new dining experience.
“Really great burgers, delish tater tots and onion rings,” one visitor wrote. “My son loved his Thanksgiving sandwich (I tasted it, and it was indeed really, really good. I would order one.). The Fluffernutter was outrageously delicious. Our server was awesome, despite slightly slow service that I think was due to it being opening day, so I won’t hold it against the place or our server at all. All in all, a really solid burger place, a truly enjoyable meal and we will be back!”
The operations of the chain’s various locations can be observed in greater detail on the television show with the same name on A&E.