Actor and singer Donnie Wahlberg is a step closer to opening one of his family's burger joints in the community he calls home.
A Wahlburgers bar and restaurant is one of three new buildings proposed for a Meijer outlot at Route 38 and Randall Road in St. Charles. Aldermen acting as a committee on Monday gave a preliminary thumbs-up to development plans for the establishment, on which construction could begin this summer if the city council gives final approval, said Rita Tungare, community and economic development director.
The decision to bring a Wahlburgers to St. Charles makes sense both financially and emotionally for Wahlberg, who lives in the city with his wife, Jenny McCarthy, he said. He told aldermen the project stems from his love for a community that has always supported his family.
"This isn't just something for us to create a successful story for us. It's really our way of investing back in the town," Wahlberg said. "We see it as something that not only we can be proud of as a family, but that the town can be proud of."
Wahlberg, a member of boy band New Kids on the Block, co-founded Wahlburgers with his brothers, actor Mark and chef Paul. The Massachusetts-based burger chain has locations in 16 states and in Canada, but none yet in Illinois.
"In my lifetime, when I've been able to not only work on something successful but do something successful that means a lot and does some good for a community that's deserving of it, there's no greater satisfaction," Wahlberg said. "To know that we can bring jobs and resources to the economy and the people of this community means the world to me."
The 6,000-square-foot Wahlburgers will be the central restaurant on a three-acre site that currently sits on a portion of the Meijer parking lot. The restaurant is known for its burgers, but also serves sandwiches, salads, homemade entrees and a variety of desserts.
Wahlberg also intends to display a collection of St. Charles-related items in the restaurant, Tungare said.
"They're hoping to make it a destination," she said. "It's a very family-oriented business. It'll be a draw for people, so I think it'll add to the other businesses that are existing on the west side of St. Charles."
The two buildings proposed for either side of Wahlburgers are expected to contain restaurants with some space for retail, city documents show. Those tenants have not been finalized yet, Tungare said, though drive-through lanes are planned for both structures.
The city council is expected to vote in early June on the outlot development plans, Tungare said.