Wahlburgers Announces First UK Restaurant in London’s Covent Garden
May 20th will see the thirty-first Wahlburgers restaurant, and the first outside North America, open in London’s Covent Garden.
The 6,500 square-foot Wahlburgers is located on the pedestrianised James Street than runs from Covent Garden tube station to the historic market landmark, the building itself is the lower section of the Royal Opera House and Grade 1 listed. Inside the restaurant, a double-aspect stairway divides the two floors that accommodate almost two hundred, covers over ground floor banquettes, full- service bar and lower ground classic table settings.
While the scale is large, its origins are humble, with the inspiration for the restaurant coming from the precious memories of the Wahlberg family of 12 (nine siblings, mother and father and grandma who lived in the basement) when mealtimes were the only times they were together.
Wahlburgers is not your average burger restaurant. The menu offers three house burgers, seven specialty burgers, four hot sandwiches, six salads, three “from scratch” items and four sides, as well as the UK-only addition of fish and chips. There is also a full-service bar serving spirits, cocktails, bottle and draft beers and specialty drinks such as adult frappes and floats.
“Almost everything is made in-house,” says Chef Paul Wahlberg. “The transition to the UK has meant a lot of time and research into UK producers and many months of tasting to replicate the Wahlberg flavours we have in the States and Canada. We are proud to use UK suppliers and have found an outstanding farmer to provide our Aberdeen Angus beef to create our proprietary blend of chuck, short rib and brisket for our burgers.”
Signature items include the three brother’s favourite burgers; Paul’s favourite, The Our Burger (1/3 lb. burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, American cheese, Paul’s house-made signature Wahl sauce & pickles £9), Donnie’s favourite BBQ Bacon Burger (1/3 lb. burger, white cheddar, bacon, fresh jalapeños, house-made BBQ sauce & avocado spread £11) and Mark’s favourite Thanksgiving Turkey Burger (1/4 lb. fresh ground seasoned turkey burger, stuffing, mayo, house-made orange-cranberry sauce & roasted butternut squash £9.50).
Two signature dishes are from mother Alma’s own repertoire; Mom’s Sloppy Joe is a family favourite and famously made with a pound of meat stretched to feed the whole family (mom’s house-made Sloppy Joe is smothered on thick-cut grilled bread finished with crispy onions, Paul’s house-made signature Wahl sauce & cheese sauce £9.50). Alma’s Macaroni Salad (elbow macaroni, red onion, sweet peppers, celery, parsley & mom’s favourite mayo £5) is a summer favourite of the family and would be passed around the table of 12 in huge bowls while their dad manned the grill.
Tater Tots (£3.50) are a signature of the menu and best eaten with your fingers, dipped in ketchup or Wahl sauce.
As part of the in-restaurant training, twenty of the managerial team were flown to Boston for seven weeks of training to be fully immersed in the work ethos and style of Wahlburgers to ensure this level of hospitality is achieved. An additional 115 staff will support the managerial team. “Our family is committed to offering a unique culinary experience that goes beyond the basic burger, with customer service that will make you ‘feel’ like family,” adds Chef Paul.
The project was managed from inception to completion by London-based management consultancy LXA. “We are extremely proud to be opening the doors to Wahlburger’s first restaurant outside North America and launch the Covent Garden flagship in London,” says Pete Warden, Hospitality Director of LXA. “We have worked closely with the team to execute design, build and Operations and due to the nature of the site, being in a Grade I listed building, it has been a detailed process and had to adhere to both planning and heritage regulations. The site required a complete refit and we took the time to get it right and open a venue we are proud of.”
Wahlburgers, 8-9 James Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BH
11am-11pm (Monday to Saturday) 11am-10.30pm (Sunday)
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Founded by Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg, brothers Mark and Donnie and other investors, Wahlburgers debuted in October 2011 in Hingham, Massachusetts. Wahlburgers offers a fun, casual music-filled atmosphere where guests,like family, share great food. While its walls celebrate the story through photos and words of the Wahlberg brothers’ life journeys from Dorchester Massachusetts, neighbourhood kids to rising chef and international superstars, it’s the food at Wahlburgers that takes center stage. Crafted by Chef Paul and served with heartfelt hospitality, the menu is inspired by dishes cooked by their mother, Alma. Signature items include Mom’s Sloppy Joe, Tater Tots, The Our Burger (Paul’s favourite), BBQ Bacon Burger (Donnie’s favourite), and Thanksgiving Turkey Burger (Mark’s favourite). Wahlburgers’ full-service bar is a popular gathering spot offering an impressive selection of adult frappes, cocktails, wines and beers including the signature Wahlbrewski unfiltered Pale Ale.
LXA is a multidisciplinary agency, specialised in bringing F&B brands to life. Offering a full range of services, including interior, graphic and concept design, operations, project management, construction management, and cost consultancy. Work starts when pen is first put to paper in an initial briefing and finishes when a venue is open, operational and outstanding.