April 2021 As I first reported back in January 2020, Wahlburgers has decided to add its thread to the fabric of Carmel and open its 53rd Wahlburgers in the country\u2014this one located in the Proscenium development. As the staff was finalizing preparations for its soft open at the end of April, we spoke with Wahlburgers\u2019 founder Chef Paul Wahlberg as well as a few members of the local franchise\u2019s management team about what will make Wahlburgers the premiere \u201cfoodie\u201d destination in Carmel, Indiana. Just Your Typical Atypical Family Actor, musician, chef, entrepreneur \u2026 these titles alone don\u2019t define the Wahlberg brothers: Mark, Donnie and Paul. \u201cFamily\u201d does. And the foundation of principles and passion on which the brothers\u2019 outstanding success in the film, food and movie industries was built upon is the very same foundation that the Wahlburgers franchise organization\u2019s success is growing upon. While Mark and Donnie are bona fide celebrities in their own respective careers, Chef Paul Wahlberg has achieved stardom through the creation of Wahlburgers, which has become an international name in its own right. \u201cThe passion part started early,\u201d Chef Paul shared. \u201cIt\u2019s funny. I\u2019d watch Graham Kerr, the \u2018Galloping Gourmet,\u2019 as a kid, and I was always fascinated by the cooking part of it and the enjoyment he got out of it and sharing it with others. Sitting at home with my family, we would always have the big family meal on Sunday. Then we\u2019d think about the leftovers that were going to be generated out of it. Which was great because if we had roast beef, we knew that we were going to have hot roast beef sandwiches\u2014open faced with gravy on it and a little side of mashed potatoes and a piece of bread\u2014and things like that.\u201d While Mark and Donnie were becoming household names across the globe in performance arts, Paul spent his time exploring the culinary arts and maintains a humble disposition and perspective on his rise to fame and success. \u201cMy friend\u2019s dad owned a restaurant, and I was washing dishes,\u201d Chef Paul shared. \u201cThen I started doing prep\u2014cutting meat and cleaning vegetables. Then, the sous chef walked by me and said, \u2018Hey, you\u2019re pretty good at this. Maybe you should go to culinary school.\u2019 And that was literally my \u2018Forrest Gump\u2019 moment where I was like \u2018OK\u2019 and then BOOM\u2014everything just opened to me, and I realized that\u2019s what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. Not Forrest Gump but that I wanted to be a chef. I realized that everything I had been doing previously was leading me to that moment.\u201d Incorporating Traditions Into Wahlburgers Chef Paul emphasized the importance of each and every guest of Wahlburgers feeling like they have come to a place where they\u2019re welcome, like you do when you come home. In loving memory of Alma WahlbergL-R: Mark, Paul, Donnie and their late motherAlma Wahlberg \u201cWhen you walk into a restaurant, you want to be \u2018home,\u2019\u201d Chef Paul said. \u201cYou want to be warmly greeted and to be welcomed, and you want people to be excited that you\u2019re there.\u201d In addition to an ambiance that lends itself to an experience similar to if you were a guest at the Wahlberg\u2019s actual family dining room, Wahlburgers offers dishes that are Wahlberg family favorites that come with beloved memories. \u201cThere were nine of us, and it takes a lot to feed nine people,\u201d Chef Paul expressed. \u201cMy dad used to cook outside in the summertime and cook burgers on the grill. And that would be like our thing. On some of the menus we\u2019ve had my mom\u2019s macaroni salad and my dad\u2019s chili. Obviously, we\u2019re a burger restaurant, so there\u2019s a lot of things that are centric to that. And we\u2019ve had lots of dishes that have been very reminiscent of where we came from.\u201d A Simple Way of Looking at Things Chef Paul\u2019s philosophy is if it needs to be done, get it done. And he isn\u2019t above anything that his guest, staff and franchisees need him to do to help them have the best experiences possible. \u201cI have a very simple way of looking at things,\u201d Chef Paul stated. \u201cWe\u2019re all in this together, and each person has to be pulling in the same direction in order to achieve one goal, and that\u2019s happy customers. They don\u2019t come to us for a bad experience. They come to us for a good experience and a good time. It\u2019s not a requirement for them to come in. We have to earn their trip every single time.\u201d The Wahlburgers Carmel Experience Wahlburgers guarantees a fun, casual, music-filled atmosphere where guests, like family, share great food, a few laughs and lots of love. While the interior decor is filled with photos and memories celebrating the Wahlberg brothers\u2019 life journeys from Dorchester neighborhood kids to rising chef and international superstars, Wahlburgers makes food the real star. Guests will enjoy delicious fresh ground beef burgers, signature sandwiches, crispy fries, onion rings, tater tots, salads, specialty frappes, beer and cocktails\u2014all served with heartfelt hospitality. In addition to enjoying a welcoming ambiance where everyone\u2019s like family, the location\u2019s interior build-out is unique compared to any other Wahlburgers location. And the Carmel location offers an abundance of outdoor seating as well with even more amazing views that add to an enjoyable experience. In addition to all of that, Wahlburgers Carmel\u2019s staff is comprised of some of the industry\u2019s most talented and exceptional individuals. Jim Oboyski, vice president of operations, said, \u201cBeing part of this group has been a joy for me. The team that I work with\u2014from the leadership team to the general managers to the boots on the ground\u2014has been nothing short of a blessing to me.\u201d Seth Stevenson, regional director, spoke about the overall design: \u201cAs far as the itself, this is the first design that we've done like this, and we wanted to make it like you're at your neighbor\u2019s house. It\u2019s warm, and it's inviting. We've got more booths than we've ever had, and the design that the team and Jim came up with will elevate the entire experience for the team and our guests.\u201d Wahlburgers Carmel General Manager Andrew Pedersen\u2014an Indiana native\u2014is genuinely excited for what is to come for his team, his guests and for himself. \u201cI\u2019ve been a general manager for a little over 10 years in the Indianapolis, Southern California, and Chicago markets,\u201d Pedersen shared. \u201cIt was a no-brainer for me to take this opportunity, and even in the short amount of time that I\u2019ve interacted with my leadership, it\u2019s been nothing but joy. And I can\u2019t wait to extend that positivity to the community of Carmel as well as the family dynamic that we bring.\u201d The Wahlbergs Are Excited for Their Brand to Join the Carmel Community The Wahlbergs and the Wahlburgers management team are eager to become part of the Carmel community and are excited to open their doors to thousands of new friends who will leave as part of the Wahlburgers family. \u201cWe want to be part of the fabric of the community,\u201d Chef Paul said. \u201cWe want to be supportive of what\u2019s going on around. We grew up in very humble beginnings, and people helped us, so we owe that, and I will owe that for the rest of my life. At the end of the day, we\u2019re invited guests, so we better show respect to the community that we\u2019re in.\u201d Chef Paul\u2019s brother, Mark, offered a brief statement: "We have fallen in love with Indiana and its people as they have been so welcoming to our family. We are truly looking forward to bringing our first location to the state as we open our doors in Carmel.\u201d Be sure to follow Wahlburgers Carmel on Facebook and visit wahlburgers.com for more information.