Hollywood Hamburgers

When I decided to try the new Wahlburgers restaurant at The Star in Frisco, three things crossed my mind: 1 – Great! A night I do not have to cook dinner for the family, 2 – Ummm … I do not eat meat, so I do not know what I will review and 3 – Maybe there is a chance I will run into one of my favorite Hollywood actors, Mark Wahlberg, who is part owner of the Wahlburgers chain, along with his brothers Donnie and Paul. I mean, I have been a Mark Wahlberg fan ever since the Marky Mark and Funky Bunch days. If you are too young to remember him as a very hunky young pop singer, Google him. You are welcome!

Regarding number one, I was pleased to have a night off from the dinner doldrums and took my husband and the kids to Wahlburgers. The Star was bustling, as usual. I anticipated a wait at the restaurant, but, luckily, we were seated right away. The atmosphere at Wahlburgers was everything you would expect from a burger restaurant: bright, colorful and a little noisy. There is a large bar area when you walk in, complete with many flat screen televisions showing sports. Toward the back of the restaurant, there is abundant seating and an open view to the kitchen. 

The servers at Wahlburgers are friendly and the service is quick. Our server, Jordan, was great at offering suggestions and told us all about what is popular on the menu. Which leads me to point number two: the burgers. I was pleased as punch to see there was a wide variety of options to choose from and many of them do not contain red meat. While beef burgers are certainly a big part of the menu, there are plenty of turkey, chicken, fish and even plant-based burger options so everyone can be satisfied. It was a win-win for the whole family!

My husband and I both had a long week at work and were ready to celebrate the weekend, so we were happy to see some adult libations on the menu. He enjoyed a cold beer on tap and I opted for the House Made Sangria. It was a sweet and delicious blend of red wine, raspberry vodka, orange liqueur, fruit slices and Sprite®. It really hit the spot. The kids were very happy with their pre-dinner milkshakes. Milkshakes are really a big star of the show at Wahlburgers, and they are not just for the under 21 crowd. There are adult milkshakes, like the Fluffanuttahh, which has vanilla ice cream, marshmallow vodka, Crème de Banana Liqueur, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. I was very tempted by this one, but chose to stick to the sangria. 

Many menu items have calorie counts listed next to them at Wahlburgers. If you are a movie fan and follow Mark Wahlberg (he is known for movies like “Band of Brothers,” “Shooter” and “The Perfect Storm”), then you know he is also a fitness and nutrition buff. Known for his clean eating and workout routines, he posts plenty of photos of himself on Instagram flaunting his six-pack abs and bulging muscles. Along with his two brothers, Paul and Donnie, they are three of the Wahlberg clan (which includes nine siblings total) that were born and raised in Dorchester, Mass., a neighborhood in South Boston. The menu is inspired by their family recipes from this time. 

Which leads me to point number three: meeting Mark. I figured there was slim-to-none chance I would bump into him at the restaurant … and I was right. In fact, none of the brothers have actually been to the Wahlburgers location at The Star yet. They are opening up Wahlburgers restaurants all across the country and most recently in the United Kingdom. So, I ended up doing the next best thing to meeting Mark – I ordered Mark’s Choice on the menu. It turns out Mark and I have similar food preferences, and we both like turkey burgers. Mark’s Choice is called the Thanksgiving Turkey Burger. It is a turkey patty on a bun with stuffing, mayonnaise, cranberry-orange sauce and roasted butternut squash. All I can say is that it was the best turkey burger I have ever had. It truly was like savoring Thanksgiving in every mouthful. After the first bite, it was hard to put down the burger. We ordered Onion Rings (shoestring style … very good and salty), French Fries (very crispy) and Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese. 

The kids liked their burgers, with the Our Burger being the standout. Lettuce, tomato, onion, signature Wahl sauce and government cheese (their kitschy nickname for good ‘ol American) on a tasty bun were a definite hit. My daughter raved about her Jenn’s Chicken Sandwich. She loved the crispy and caramelized onions and homemade honey-garlic mayo. Despite my non-beef eating ways, my husband is perhaps the pickiest eater in our bunch. Many restaurants do not meet his high standards (that is what happens when you are a very good cook in your own right), yet he gave two thumbs up for the Crispy Haddock Sandwich. It was a thick piece of flaky white haddock fried to a crisp with lettuce, tomato and house-made balsamic tartar sauce. 

Try as we might, we could not save room for dessert. The dessert options all sounded delicious, especially the grilled Fluffanuttahh (the Wahlberg brothers really seem to like their marshmallow fluff) with freshly-sliced bananas, peanut butter, fluff and Nutella. I would like to go back another time and give this one a try.

Until then, I will definitely be back at Wahlburgers another time soon for a family takeout dinner. They even have a convenient app you can download and use to order food for pick-up called the “Wahlclub.” While the restaurant is fun and upbeat, if you are looking for a quiet meal, you might want to order for takeout and dine at home. In other words, this restaurant is fantastic for families and meeting friends, but maybe not the best option for your book club. 

If I find out Mark is coming to visit Wahlburgers at The Star, you can bet I will be there waiting for him and hoping to get a selfie. And, if I have the chance, I will definitely ask him how he maintains those washboard abs while eating Thanksgiving on a bun and washing it down with marshmallow fluff milkshakes.

Frisco STYLE Magazine dining reviews are not scheduled with or paid for by the featured restaurant. All reviews are completed for the purpose of helping readers know and enjoy local dining options.

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Lisa Dawson is a full-time working mom of three, a freelance writer and a Frisco resident.