The Wahlbergs are carving out an empire down under.
Wahlburgers founders and brothers Mark and Paul Wahlberg announced this week that the fast food franchise would be opening locations in Australia and New Zealand. The chain plans to launch 20 restaurants across the two countries, according to multiple outlets. In fact, Sydney residents could be feasting on Wahlburgers by the city’s harbor — Circular Quay — as early as this spring.
“We’re starting off the first Monday of 2021 with some exciting news,” the chain wrote on Instagram. “Wahlburgers is making its way to Australia this year! We can’t wait to meet our Wahl Family in the land down under.”
It’s the newest expansion for the Dorchester natives, Oscar-nominated actor Mark Wahlberg, and his chef brother, Paul, who launched the burger chain in Hingham in 2011.
Some of the new Australian Wahlburgers locations will be movie-themed, propelled by a partnership with United Cinema. Those locations are slated for Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane and for New Zealand. The partnership deal is worth more than $50 million and will employ 500 staff members, according to news.com and Daily Mail.
United Cinemas CEO Sam Mustaca told an Australian news site that the partnership is a “perfect fit.”
“We had been following the concept for years,” Mustaca said. “With really great food, beers and a fun atmosphere, we think it’s going to be a big hit.”
Hungry customers in Australia will be able to munch on beloved favorites: burgers, shakes, beers, and bunless bowls known as Wahlbowls. But some additions may also be coming. Mark Walhberg told “A Current Affair” host Leila McKinnon he would consider adding canned beetroot, an Aussie favorite, to the menu. “If that’s what people want,” he said.
“My palate has grown a bit,” Wahlberg continued. “I didn’t think I liked Vegemite, either, and I had quite a bit of it while I was there.”
As of now, there are more than 50 Wahlburgers locations in the United States, Germany, and Canada.
The Walhberg brothers made an impact locally ahead of Christmas when they teamed up with Call to Action Clothing and donated 100 meals and 800 hospital gowns to Dorchester’s Carney Hospital. Last spring, the family donated almost 30,000 meals to frontline health care workers through their “WhateverYouNeed” campaign.