While it’s clearly ever so close to public launch, Greektown’s Wahlburgers is still not open yet and won’t confirm a specific date for liftoff. Members of the media were invited to a “private preview” on Wednesday evening, which for those who didn’t read the fine print did not involve access to the restaurant. Nevertheless, reporters hustled down to the sidewalk for the event (one Eater editor included) for a chance to shove a mic in Marky Mark’s star studded face.
The red carpet, ample security, and temporary metal railings had already clued in Mark Wahlberg fans and burger lovers that something was up. People — some who waited hours for a glimpse of the actor — crowded Monroe Avenue’s sidewalk across from the impending opening. Alas, they had to wait a little longer than anticipated, as Wahlberg was released late from an afternoon on set at Transformers 5. In the meantime, those lucky enough to score an invite, including Cafe D’Mongo’s Larry Mongo and mayor Mike Duggan, filed through the doors in style as cameras from the reality TV show Wahlburgers captured the event.
In an interview, managing partner and Bella Piatti owner Antonino "Nino" Cutraro told reporters that the location will feature some “special Detroit flair” including Vernor’s drinks and could open as soon as “this weekend.” He adds, “We’re very close.”
Later, Mark Wahlberg finally arrived in a black SUV. The evening’s red carpet event he says, offers “one day of excitement and glamour and then every other day after that is for the customers so people get to experience the food and experience the vibe.” The actor, who founded the chain alongside brothers Donnie and chef Paul Wahlberg, says that like the restaurant, Detroit is “all about family too and it's all about hard work.” Those qualities encouraged him to open a location in the city.
Wahlberg further confirmed that the company is exploring real estate for additional Michigan locations: “[There are] other locations that we're looking at around the Michigan area. We want to generate as much business for not only Wahlburgers but for everybody else and remind people what a great state Michigan is.”
The 4,200-sqaure-foot, 130-seat restaurant located next to Redsmoke Barbecue spans two stories and features a full bar and patio area. While Eater was not allowed inside the eatery, the second floor appears to have a ceiling word cloud homage to the Wahlberg acting dynasty’s films. As previously reported, Cutraro is signed on to open six locations in Michigan and six locations in Ohio over the next five years. Stay tuned for more updates.