Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg and his brothers (Mark and Donnie) are expanding their burger concept, Wahlburgers, into Canada. Early next year, the first Canadian location will open in downtown Toronto, inside the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel, on the corner of Blue Jays Way and Wellington (map).
Just like the Hingham location, the space will include a sports bar, dining room, and quick service area. The menu, consisting of burgers, sandwiches, salads, sides, and shakes (both with booze and without), will also be identical.
So, why Toronto? According to the Boston Business Journal, the deal was brokered by a Canadian financier and early investor in Wahlburgers.
If you're familiar with Toronto's entertainment district, the chosen location makes good sense. The SoHo Metropolitan is a popular spot for visiting movie stars and industry types during the annual Toronto Film Festival, which is headquartered a few blocks away at the new Bell Lightbox. It's also a quick drive from Mark Wahlberg's $12M dollar penthouse in Yorkville, steps away from what was previously ground zero for the film festival.
The same Boston Business Journal report also notes that as many as 10 to 15 locations may open in Boston and its suburbs within the next three to five years. So, it looks like the expansion into Canada is just one of many avenues the Wahlberg brothers are exploring.
I'm excited (and a little jealous) that Wahlburgers is moving in mere meters away from my condo building in Toronto, but I have to admit, I'm curious how they'll handle Toronto's strict health by-laws, which state that hamburgers should be cooked all the way through, until the meat is "brown or grey".