Wahlberg Brothers Hire Panera Bigwig to Spearhead Wahlburgers National Expansion

Going all in.
Going all in. Photo: Getty Images

A quick recap for those who may have forgotten: Last fall, Mark, Donnie, and Paul Wahlberg opened Wahlburgers outside of Boston. Rumors of expansion — and a reality show — circulated, and everyone continued to laugh about the shop’s silly name. But the Wahlberg boys are serious about this thing: In fact, today a rep writes in to let us know that they’ve hired former Panera Bread executive Rick Vanzura “to lead the expansion of Wahlburgers.” A rep tells Grub Street that Wahlburgers will first expand in Boston before going national. And in a press release, which you can see below, a publicist writes Vanzura says, “After spending several months getting to know the Wahlbergs, I was struck by their commitment to building a world-class concept offering extraordinary food and an exceptional experience.”

Wahlberg Brothers, Paul, Mark and Donnie, Name New CEO to Lead Expansion of Wahlburgers

Rick Vanzura, formerly of Panera, Takes the Helm

The Wahlberg brothers have named Rick Vanzura Chief Executive Officer of Wahlburgers to lead the expansion of this burger 
restaurant concept with its flagship location in Hingham, MA, just 15 miles south of Boston. Wahlburgers debuted last October 
following the successful launch in June 2010 of the brothers’ first venture, Alma Nove, a fine dining waterfront restaurant named 
for their mother and nine siblings.

Formerly Executive Vice President and co-Chief Operating Officer of Panera, LLC, Vanzura, a Hingham resident, will focus on growing 
the Wahlburgers brand with plans to open more nationwide beginning in the Boston area. “After spending several months getting to 
know the Wahlbergs, I was struck by their commitment to building a world-class concept offering extraordinary food and an exceptional 
experience,” said Vanzura. “This is not just another celebrity-driven restaurant.  Paul is an exceptional chef, and his commitment to quality shows up in the restaurant every day.”
According to Vanzura, Wahlburgers is a hometown Boston brand inspired by memories of the Wahlberg brothers’ pre-celebrity days growing up in their Dorchester neighborhood. “We hope to share a little bit of our childhood times with our guests,” explains Paul. “Our family has had some humble beginnings and some amazing success, but at Wahlburgers, it’s all about the food.”  
“Mark and I are pleased to pair a proven executive like Rick with an outstanding chef like Paul to continue to develop Wahlburgers and 
grow our family business,” said Donnie Wahlberg
Wahlburgers offers fast casual counter service as well as table service in the bar area and sprawling outdoor patio. Its menu features fresh ground beef burgers made from an exclusive blend of chuck, brisket and short rib, as well as turkey burgers, salmon burgers, all beef hot dogs, crispy fries, onion rings, tater tots, signature ice cream frappes, house made desserts and more. 
With full liquor service, Wahlburgers has become a lively nightspot serving enticing adult frappes, cocktails and brews including the Wahlbrewski, unfiltered Pale Ale made by Harpoon especially for Wahlburgers.
Wahlburgers is located at 19 Shipyard Drive at the Launch at the Hingham Shipyard, in Hingham, MA. Lunch and dinner are served daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.  For more information call 781-749-2110, or visit www.wahlburgers.com.