Wahlburgers opens in Palo Alto | Peninsula Foodist | Elena Kadvany | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

Peninsula Foodist

By Elena Kadvany

E-mail Elena Kadvany

About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

View all posts from Elena Kadvany

Wahlburgers opens in Palo Alto

Uploaded: Nov 13, 2017
An outpost of Wahlburgers, the national burger chain from celebrity family the Wahlbergs, is now open in downtown Palo Alto.

Wahlburgers soft opened at 185 University Ave. on Sunday, an employee said.

Paul Wahlberg, together with his two brothers — actor-producer Mark and actor Donnie — started Wahlburgers in the Boston area in 2011. There are now locations in more than 10 states, including franchises, plus a reality show on A&E about the family-run company.


The new Wahlburgers in Palo Alto. Photo by Elena Kadvany.

The menu includes several burgers as well as sandwiches, salads and sides. The signature burger comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, American cheese, "Paul's signature Wahl sauce" and housemade pickles. Burgers range in price from $9.25 to $12.95.

185 University was previously occupied by Sam's Chowder House, whose owners sold the business to Wahlburgers last year.

During the restaurant's soft opening phase, Wahlburgers Palo Alto will be open from 11 a.m. to about 7 p.m., an employee said. The restaurant will eventually stay open late, until midnight.

Comments

 +   4 people like this
Posted by charles reilly, a resident of another community,
on Nov 13, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Nuthin' wrong with a Burger, once in awhile ! You can't eat fusion noodles every day .... As long as their lunch time service is prompt, they have a chance.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Red, a resident of Atherton,
on Nov 13, 2017 at 10:20 pm

This was a big disappointment. Maybe it will improve...and I hope so.
This is a very low key “fast food" place with slow service. My chili arrived at the table in a paper cup with a plastic spoon. Huh?!
They need to “up their game" to be successful in the savvy foodie neighborhood of Palo Alto.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by John, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 13, 2017 at 11:19 pm

No veggie burger. Disappointing.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Red, did you read the story above??, a resident of another community,
on Nov 13, 2017 at 11:53 pm

That's a serious question, I can't tell from your comment. "This is a very low key . . . place with slow service. . . chili arrived at the table in a paper cup with a plastic spoon"

According to the story appearing before these comments, the business "soft-" opened YESTERDAY. I guess it will be firmly open eventually. In my experience, brand-new restaurants usually do '"up their game"' after they open, but it can take weeks or months to find their pace, get the software and the utensil supplies sorted out, and finish breaking in the newly hired employees. When someone goes in right just it opened and then writes criticisms like those above, it's my turn as a reader to say 'Huh?!'

Who knows what kind of a restaurant this "is," until it has run for a while and reached a steady state.


 +   17 people like this
Posted by real disappointment, a resident of Downtown North,
on Nov 14, 2017 at 10:26 am

The real big disappointment is the negativity people spew on this site - Not even open yet and Red decides to post this kind of vitriol. Shame on you. All the time and dollars they are investing in Palo Alto and you can't even give them the time to tune their game. I'll tell you what - don't go if you don't like it but posting this kind of negativity helps no one. Times like this I wish there was a 'dislike' button.

I think I'll head over at lunch today to show my support and welcome them to our town! I'll be happy to provide them with my direct constructive comments so they can hear what this foodie is looking for in a Palo Alto burger shack!


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Red, did you read the story above??, a resident of another community,
on Nov 14, 2017 at 10:58 am

The negativity you point out, "real disappointment," seems like part of human nature that leads people to judge restaurants harshly even though quite unfairly -- like complaining about details, projecting everyone's experience ("very low key . . . place with slow service"), judging the whole from minor menu items (how some chili is served in a hamburger restaurant), all when you have reason to know that it just barely opened.

The genius (some use other words for it) of Y*lp's founders was to harness that instinct. Not just to provide content without cost, but also leverage (I know many examples of this), to pressure restaurants to buy advertising in exchange for removing the random misleading negativity that so reliably appears.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Nov 14, 2017 at 11:58 am

One really shouldn't go to brand new restaurants unless one is tolerant of some unevenness in the quality of the experience. This restaurant isn't even running its normal hours of operation yet.

The staff turnover rate is exceptionally high in the first few months of a new restaurant business, so many of the people who were cooking and serving the food on Sunday may be replaced with new people in a short while.

I'll probably wait at least six months before I walk through their door.

Best of luck to them.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Hamburgler, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Nov 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm

The restaurant business is one of the toughest there is. If a new restaurant can't "hit the ground running" on the first day, or at the very least by the end of the first week, good luck surviving on a street where there is a lot of competition, including another hamburger joint and one that closed not too long ago because it couldn't survive. I can't think of many restaurants that have lasted longer than ten years on University Avenue. Round Table Pizza was on University Ave. in the early 70s when I moved here as a kid, and I think it's been around longer (40+ years) than any other restaurant on University. Go figure.

I'll give Wahlburgers a chance because I'm always looking for a good burger. There aren't many good burger joints around here.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident, a resident of Downtown North,
on Nov 14, 2017 at 1:28 pm

No Garden or Veggie Burgers!?
I am assuming Wahlberg did some basic research, and so I am surprised that they didn't add garden burger to their menu. Especially in the heart of Silicon Valley, there is a big population of non-meat eaters, like myself, who often crave a good veggie burger.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Red, did you read the story above??, a resident of another community,
on Nov 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm

No, Hamburgler: Clumsy openings, unrepresentative of the normal experience over most of the business's lifetime, are basic restaurant reality for reasons some of us mentioned. (Alert customers know that and allow for it, and restaurants even forewarn them with language like "soft opening" quoted in the story.) Yes it's a tough business, but even the most successful restaurants didn't have all their customers from day one, when the place was new and few people had even heard of it.

What's important at the start is for owners to have pockets deep enough to weather the slow build-up of business, and for them to spot and fix the inevitable start-up bugs as soon as possible.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Chuck, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm

I think some of you "educated" Palo Alto people should use that brain of yours and look up the meaning SOFT OPENING.. Come on guys use that million dollar brain. Again SOFT OPENING.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by David, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 14, 2017 at 6:50 pm

No way I'm contributing a dollar to anything supported by Mark Wahlberg. [Portion removed.]


 +   2 people like this
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Nov 14, 2017 at 9:13 pm

Close to a full year since first announced. Web Link (last Dec 2).
Plenty of, uh, negative commenting in that thread too.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Nov 15, 2017 at 9:44 am

Life, as we know it, is over.


 +   12 people like this
Posted by No thanks, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 15, 2017 at 9:57 am

Wondering why my earlier post was deleted. Was just pointing out my unwillingness to give my business to someone with a racist and violent past.

Editor, please don't censor my comments, which are factual and not opinion-based. Thx.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 15, 2017 at 1:23 pm

I hope this is good. I've heard great stories from friends on the East Coast who've tried the burgers. We'll give it a try.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Steve, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 15, 2017 at 2:39 pm

No Veggie Burger!!! Obviously didn't do research in this area.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Nov 15, 2017 at 3:39 pm

I miss Sam's Chowder House at this location.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Gary's Old Town Tavern, a resident of another community,
on Nov 15, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Sam's Chowder House would have been successful if only they had changed the name to Sam's Chowda House


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by I'll try it, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm

I've heard from many not to expect to be wow'd though.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jim Baer, a resident of Downtown North,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 2:51 pm

This has been the most unsuccessful restaurant location in Downtown Palo Alto for 40 years since the pink and
orange padded booths of House of Pies in college days. I think there have probably been well more than a dozen failed operations - and all still inside the unchanged miserable facade - except for changed awnings. I hope Wahlburgers enjoys some period of success. This place has been so terrible, my group and other pals have never been interested in
buying and renovating the place


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Bill, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 2:57 pm

What is so miserable about the façade? I loved going there when it was The Good Earth.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Head Spinning, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Why is it that every new Burger joint or Steakhouse opens without sensitivity training? I can't believe there are no Soy patties! The greens and grain folks are overdue for a protest! Darn You Paul, Mark and Donnie! I'm gonna go chew my cud at the satellite dish....


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Head Spinning, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Why is it that every new Burger joint or Steakhouse opens without sensitivity training? I can't believe there are no Soy patties! The greens and grain folks are overdue for a protest! Darn You Paul, Mark and Donnie! I'm gonna go chew my cud at the satellite dish....


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Novelera, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

I'll give it a try. The first time I ate at Sam's, I loved the lobster roll. A long time later I selected it as my birthday treat from a good friend, and we went there for lunch. Wow! Hardly anyone was there, which seemed odd. And the lobster roll was quite disappointing. I felt guilty for having caused my good friend to pay through the nose for an inferior sandwich (especially since she's from New England!)

So, for me at least, Wahlburgers might be an improvement.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Bill Glazier, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Why don't any of you use your real name?

My son and I went on Tuesday. The burger was actually pretty good - I would say it was without a doubt better than Gott's and probably even better than Counter. Our server had a variety of recommendations, one of which I went with, and it was a very good combination of flavors and textures. The onion strings were excellent. My son's sweet potato tots did not get a good rating though. The milk shake was excellent according to Jonny, and I took a sip and it was better than Counter or Peninsula Creamery.

We are not a veggie burger family, so that is not a factor for us.

Service is excellent. Greeted immediately at the door, and the manager came over and talked to us a couple of times during the meal. We have a little bit of an interesting story that perhaps accounted for some of the attention - Wahlburgers's dad and my father-in-law were drinking buddies in Hingham, Massachusetts years ago.

Price was a little high, but it is University Avenue and that is not cheap real estate. I like the combination of self service, fun service and take out options - unique and useful. If you wasn't a burger place, this seems to be a pretty good choice.

If this was only the second day of operation - for god's sake, they are doing a great job. We'll see how it goes, and we will for sure go again.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Bill Glazier, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Why don't any of you use your real name?

My son and I went on Tuesday. The burger was actually pretty good - I would say it was without a doubt better than Gott's and probably even better than Counter. Our server had a variety of recommendations, one of which I went with, and it was a very good combination of flavors and textures. The onion strings were excellent. My son's sweet potato tots did not get a good rating though. The milk shake was excellent according to Jonny, and I took a sip and it was better than Counter or Peninsula Creamery.

We are not a veggie burger family, so that is not a factor for us.

Service is excellent. Greeted immediately at the door, and the manager came over and talked to us a couple of times during the meal. We have a little bit of an interesting story that perhaps accounted for some of the attention - Wahlburgers's dad and my father-in-law were drinking buddies in Hingham, Massachusetts years ago.

Price was a little high, but it is University Avenue and that is not cheap real estate. I like the combination of self service, fun service and take out options - unique and useful. If you wasn't a burger place, this seems to be a pretty good choice.

If this was only the second day of operation - for god's sake, they are doing a great job. We'll see how it goes, and we will for sure go again.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Bill Glazier, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Why don't any of you use your real name?

My son and I went on Tuesday. The burger was actually pretty good - I would say it was without a doubt better than Gott's and probably even better than Counter. Our server had a variety of recommendations, one of which I went with, and it was a very good combination of flavors and textures. The onion strings were excellent. My son's sweet potato tots did not get a good rating though. The milk shake was excellent according to Jonny, and I took a sip and it was better than Counter or Peninsula Creamery.

We are not a veggie burger family, so that is not a factor for us.

Service is excellent. Greeted immediately at the door, and the manager came over and talked to us a couple of times during the meal. We have a little bit of an interesting story that perhaps accounted for some of the attention - Wahlburgers's dad and my father-in-law were drinking buddies in Hingham, Massachusetts years ago.

Price was a little high, but it is University Avenue and that is not cheap real estate. I like the combination of self service, fun service and take out options - unique and useful. If you wasn't a burger place, this seems to be a pretty good choice.

If this was only the second day of operation - for god's sake, they are doing a great job. We'll see how it goes, and we will for sure go again.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Palo Altoid, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Whither The Good Earth?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chrisc, a resident of College Terrace,
on Nov 16, 2017 at 11:58 pm

Neither Gitt's nor Counter are very high bars. Umami burger and Fleming's are my bar. Frankly, I like Kirjs and Nut House burgers better than the first two.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by doesn't fit, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Nov 17, 2017 at 8:11 am

@Jim Baer "unchanged miserable facade"
Yeah, I guess The Cheesecake Factory down the street is more of what we're going for now in Palo Alto.





 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Fingers Crossed, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Nov 17, 2017 at 2:21 pm

I think Smashburgers in Santa Clara and SJC are fantastic. Juiciest burger I ever had was at SJC. I also like Jeffrey's on El Camino in Menlo Park.

Didn't realize Fleming's sold hamburgers. Perhaps $20 burgers?

Looking forward to trying Wahlburgers.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Nov 17, 2017 at 9:22 pm

I see no burgers on Fleming's on-line menu. No prices either.

(@Bill, my "real" name is not as recognizable here as my usual name.)


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Honestly, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Nov 18, 2017 at 7:15 am

I'm literally seeing some women getting all excited about this solely because they have the hots for the Mark Wahlberg.

1) You are not going to somehow be closer to Marky Mark if you go there
2) The food is entirely forgettable, if you're lucky.
3) Your call. It's fast food.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by cvvhrn, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 18, 2017 at 2:18 pm

cvvhrn is a registered user.

As we have learned over the course of several painful lessons,we will be waiting for at least a month before we even consider trying it. Too many people wanting to try the new thing coupled with the trials and tribulations of opening a new restaurant.

That being said, I am ALWAYS skeptical about celeb restaurants in general. Trading off the name of an actor, a boy band and reality star (whos married to an anti-vaxxer), and ??? is shouting "danger danger" too me.

And as always I'm perplexed as to why people think that The Counter is some sort of world beating burger. Its good, but its not great.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights,
on Nov 19, 2017 at 12:03 am

Flemings Burgers are on the bar menu. They come with fries. They used to be $8 during happy hour. It's a pretty decent burger. However, the bun has a sweet taste which I don't care for. The Fries are also cut too thin making them very greasy. For the money it' hard to beat Jeffrey's burgers. But why get a burger when you can get Jeffrey's Caesar Steak sandwich. It is really terrific. Neither come with fries which I try not to eat.

If you feel like splurging you can pay $20 for a burger at Madera. With tax and tip it will only set you back $26 and that is without a drink. Have a glass of Malbec with your burger at Madera you are looking at $45 with tax and tip.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Nov 19, 2017 at 2:10 am

... or $100 if you bring a date.



Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:

Follow this blogger (Receive an email when blogger makes a new post)

SUBMIT

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Mountain View: French bakery to replace Drunken Lobster
By Elena Kadvany | 4 comments | 2,622 views

A New Way to Think About High Speed Rail
By Steve Levy | 14 comments | 1,750 views

Twenty Years in the Sixties: How an Alcoholic Hippie Became a Self-Giving Servant
By Aldis Petriceks | 0 comments | 1,470 views

Sweet Potato Canapé and Food Party! Holiday Favorites
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 961 views

Couples: Slowing Down & Content and Process Conversation
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 859 views

 

The holidays are here!

From live music to a visit with Santa, here's a look at some local holiday activities to help you get into the spirit of the season.

VIEW