Chain Burger Joint Wahlburgers Is Coming to the Third Ward

Bring on the government cheese.

Celebrity-owned burger franchise Wahlburgers is moving into a prime piece of Commission Row real estate in the Third Ward – the five-story former Jennaro Bros. Inc. building at 322 N. Broadway. The restaurant, created by chef Paul Wahlberg and his famous brothers, actor Mark and singer Donnie, is slated to open in late 2019.

Note that this is just a block from the city’s only Shake Shack, which is a different, fast-casual concept, but still a burger joint.

Brothers Mark, Paul and Donnie Wahlberg, with their mother, Alma. Photo courtesy of Wahlburgers

At Wahlburgers, a basic burger looks like this: a one-third-pound Angus patty topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, government cheese, pickles and the signature creamy Wahl sauce. (Government cheese is a processed product, like American cheese. And the patty is the restaurant’s proprietary blend of brisket, short rib and beef chuck.)

The menu builds from there to a double and triple decker, specialty burgers, sandwiches (a Sloppy Joe, inspired by the Wahlberg brothers’ mother, Alma), sides such as fries and tater tots, Wahlbowls (naked burgers) and salads, plus ice cream floats, frappes and desserts. The Milwaukee location will feature that prototype menu, with the possibility that options specific to our area could be added at some point. 

Wahlburgers also features table service and a full-service bar, which also differentiates it from the Shake Shack chain, which is essentially fast food. 

The location in the Third Ward will not be the first in the area. The  Wahlburgers at The Corners of Brookfield (20111 W. Blue Mound Rd.) is expected to open in 2019. 

And you think the Third Ward is busy now? Just wait.



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.