The grills are fired up and the lines have started as Mid-Michigan’s first Wahlburgers cut the ribbon at their grand opening.
Actor Mark Wahlberg and chef Paul Wahlberg were in attendance for the grand opening at the Genesee Valley Center in Flint Township.
“I fell in love with Michigan when I was working here,” Mark said. “I’ve shot a number of movies here and made many friends who I consider family.”
But of all the places, why did the Wahlbergs choose Flint Township?
“It reminds me a lot of Boston, especially here,” Mark said. “It’s good, hard working people. We wanted to share an experience with them and give them something really special.”
Chef Paul Wahlberg has been a master in the kitchen for more than 35 years, climbing his way up from a dishwasher at age 16 to the chef he is now.
Wahlburgers' patties are a proprietary Angus blend of brisket, short rib and chuck. Each side gets a nice char for about five minutes, but Chef Paul says burgers are subjective and there's no perfect way to cook one.
"I like medium, medium rare. To me, that's where you get the most flavor out of it, but others don't like it that way. Whatever way they like it, that's what you want to do," Paul said.
Paul said it's important to put love into more than just the food.
"We thought it was important for us to establish something in Flint and really show the people behind Flint and we wanted to be a part of it. It's a great community," Paul said.
Paul's brothers Mark and Donnie have helped get the Wahlburger name out there, but he said the food and atmosphere are the key to success.
"There's nothing better than making people happy. There's nothing more fulfilling then getting to feed people and bringing happiness to them," Paul said.
Some stood in line all day to see the ribbon cutting.
One fan, Raelyn, got one step closer to her goal of visiting every Wahlburger location in the world.
“This is my 14th Wahlburgers,” Raelyn said.
So why Wahlburgers?
“I’m a big New Kids on the Block fan and I’m a big fan of Mark,” Raelyn said. “I saw Planet of the Apes in secod grade when it came out and that’s why I love film.”
While she’s one step closer to meeting her goal, she’s got quite the trip ahead of her to complete her plans.
“They just opened one in London and I do not have the funds to fly there to cross that one off,” Raelyn said.
Raelyn will soon have another location to visit as another Wahlburgers is slated to open in Royal Oak.