Wahlburgers: Bring It on Home to Dorchester

The Patriot Ledger reported this week that Wahlburgers, the popular eatery in the Hingham Shipyard, is looking to expand to a second location somewhere in the Greater Boston area. The restaurant is an aptly named venture of the Dorchester neighborhood’s most celebrated family, the Wahlbergs. Mark and Donnie— the most well known of the clan— have a role in the business, which is managed day-to-day by Paul Wahlberg.

If you haven’t been there yet, the original Hingham location is a great one. (This review sums it up nicely.) It’s just off the water in the restored shipyard, which has become a development of stores, condos, and offices akin to Marina Bay. The family also operates a more upscale restaurant, named for its matriarch, Alma Wahlberg.

Paul Wahlberg lives in Hingham and Wahlburgers, which opened in October 2011, is a good fit in his adopted town. But the restaurant has obvious Dot overtones: Diners are handed menus decorated with iconic three-deckers and a street map showing the Ashmont/Lower Mills area where the family once lived. There’s a "triple-decker" burger on offer and, on several TV monitors, a constant loop of Wahlberg brothers takes from the big screen.

The food is hearty (mainly burgers, hot dogs, and fries), affordable and — in Hingham at least— includes a full bar as well. But, it’s a casual, family-friendly spot that would be a good fit in just about any city, town, or village.

That said, it belongs in Dorchester next.

The owners make it a point to highlight their Dot connection on the Wahlburgers website: “Growing up in Dorchester with 9 kids in a triple-decker house, we didn’t have much, but we had each other and that’s what mattered most.”

This week, we posed the question to our readers on Facebook. Pretty much everyone (so far) wants the second Wahlburgers in Dot. But, it’s all about location. Several people have suggested the high visibility former Burger King property on Morrissey that’s now a strip mall with a fairly large vacancy and ample parking.

Others have suggested the old Channel 56 building near Columbia Point or the empty Hollywood Video site in Adams Corner. We’d love to see it near the old Boys and Girls Club on Dot Ave.— where Mark in particular has been such a generous benefactor. Perhaps the market that has been in limbo for two years now along that stretch of Dot Ave. near the Savin Hill Apartments?

We’d like to hear from you on this idea. Log onto the Reporter’s Facebook page to give your opinion. Let’s make the case to the Wahlburgers folks that we want them to come home.
– Bill Forry