Given its name, it should come as no surprise to learn that Wahlburgers is a reality TV show on A&E focused on the chain of restaurants called Wahlburgers. In spite of its unstructured nature, the show has managed to find a fair amount of success, as shown by the fact that it has run for six seasons so far and is expected to continue for some time still. This is because of the appeal of its stars, which consist of the chef Paul Wahlberg and his two brothers, Mark and Donnie, as well as a collection of their friends and family members.
Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Wahlburgers:
1. The Family Has Lived a Rags-to-Riches Story
In the present, the Wahlbergs can claim to be one of the more famous families in the United States, which is a significant change from their starting point. After all, their mother, Alma, has claimed that the family used to be impoverished, so much so that their school clothes were hand-me-downs while their Easter clothes had to be purchased with the assistance of small-time lenders, which tend to be much more predatory than their bigger and better-established counterparts.
2. The Family Is Extremely Tight-Knit
Unsurprisingly, the Wahlbergs are extremely close to their mother and vice versa, which provides the show with part of its charm. This can be seen in how the family owns another restaurant named Alma Nova, so-called to honor both their mother and the fact that she managed to raise a total of nine children, which is an impressive feat to say the least.
3. Paul Is Not the Sole Cook in the Family
Paul might be the one with a reputation as a chef, but it is interesting to note that Alma is a skilled cook as well. In fact, she has had some of her recipes featured on the A&E website, with examples ranging from lasagna to mac and cheese. None of the recipes posted on the website were chosen by accident. Instead, Alma chose them because they were her children’s favorite dishes, with lasagna being Mark’s favorite dish and mac and cheese being Debbie’s favorite dish.
4. Got a Boost From Being in a Boy Band
To be exact, Donnie was the first one to be chosen for New Kid on the Block. Initially, his brother, Mark, was chosen as well because of Donnie’s efforts but chose to quit before the group started recording. Instead, Mark went on to found Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, which was an affiliated group that managed to find a fair amount of success on their own. Regardless, New Kid on the Block might not be particularly well-known by younger generations, but they were wildly successful in their time.
5. Mark Has a Troubled Youth
Mark got into a lot of trouble in his youth, so much so that he actually ended up in jail at one point, which was something that he shares with four of his siblings. He has stated that while he had wanted to be just like the people that he met while he was in prison, he changed his mind upon actually meeting them. As a result, Mark decided to leave that life behind, but not without some assistance from a parish priest as well as some trouble from his former acquaintances.
6. At One Point, Mark Was Voted the Worst Singer
Mark’s first album was a huge success, so much so that one of his singles actually managed to make it all the way to the top of the charts. In contrast, his second album was a huge failure, so much so that the readers of Rolling Ston magazine actually voted him as the worst male singer of the year in 1992. While he stopped singing, Mark didn’t let that judgment stop him from continuing to pursue success, as shown by the fact that he soon started a career in acting instead.
7. Related to Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Wahlberg family is a blend of backgrounds. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that they are related to a lot of famous figures, though the connection can be pretty distant in many of the cases. One such example is Nathaniel Hawthorne, who is still remembered today as the author of The Scarlet Letter, which was influenced by his own descent from a particularly infamous judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Other relatives range from Celine Dione to Madonna.
8. Licensed the Name From Another Restaurant Chain
Wahlburgers is an amusing play on the name of the Wahlberg family, but it is interesting to note that they actually had to license it from Tom Wahl’s, which is another chain of restaurants that can be found centered on Rochester in New York but with a presence in the rest of the state. Primarily, Tom Wahl’s is famous for its custard, its root beer, and its ground steak sandwiches, which was enough to earn it a mention in USA Today.
9. Has Ambitious Plans For Expansion
Given the success of the show as well as the success of the Wahlburgers restaurant chain, it is unsurprising that the Wahlberg family would have plans for building on that momentum. However, what might surprise some people is the scale of their ambitions. For example, they are planning to open more than 20 new restaurants in the near future, with many of them situated in the state of New York. However, they are also planning to add new restaurants in places as far apart as Orlando in Florida and Toronto in the country of Canada.
10. Has a Spin-Off
Amusingly, Wahlburgers has been successful enough to have a spin-off, which is called Donnie Loves Jenny. Like its name states, it is focused on Donnie and his spouse, Jenny McCarthy, who announced their engagement in April of 2014 and got married in August of the same year. The spin-off debuted in 2015 and is still running as of the present.