Running a restaurant has its challenges, and Paul Wahlberg certainly has a full plate juggling two Hingham eateries. But recently the chef has been dealing with some unusual guests: the camera crew that entered the Wahlburgers kitchen to film an A&E reality series. Wahlberg has spent 30 years in the restaurant industry—including time at the Charles Hotel, the Four Seasons and Hull’s Bridgeman’s—but he’d never before considered filming a show or getting into the entertainment business like his brothers. “I worked with Mark as his personal chef on three films, and I’d gone to visit sets, so I had a rough idea, but I’d never been someone that was involved,” Wahlberg says.
Amid all the TV crew members, Wahlberg worked to ensure that his staff had room to do their jobs and deliver the service his customers expect, all the while dealing with his famous clan’s unique family dynamics. On Wahlburgers, he’s joined by his brothers turned business partners, Mark and Donnie, and his mother, Alma, who’s involved at their restaurant across the street, Alma Nove, named for her and her nine children. “There are days where I’m very much trying to do my job, and then at the same time falling into my mom [who’s] standing over me, you know, the way my dad would stand over me as a kid.” But she’s a welcome presence to Wahlberg, who, after all, put family front and center when naming his restaurants. “When you’re a kid growing up in the city and everybody’s always giving you a hard time, you get lots of nicknames,” Wahlberg explains of the burger joint’s moniker. “Even with the kids’ menu, we have Smahlburger. I’m small in stature, shall we say, so everyone would always call me Paul Smahlberg.” Are there other nicknames his family and staff members have for him? “Not that I can repeat,” he jokes. Join the family affair when the show premieres on Jan. 22.
Wahlburgers airs on Wednesdays at 10:30 pm on A&E.