GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Downtown Grand Rapids will soon be home to West Michigan’s first Wahlburgers.
The Hinman Company, which owns Grand Rapids’ Residence Inn by Marriott, announced its agreement with the restaurant chain Tuesday. Wahlburgers will take over one of two ground-floor retail spaces at the hotel, which opened at the corner of Ionia Avenue NW and Fulton Street three weeks ago.
Wahlburgers’ menu focuses on American fare with signature burgers, fish, chicken and vegetarian options, including the Impossible Burger. The 3,527-square-foot restaurant will also feature a full bar with specialty drinks including adult floats, sangria and cocktails.
Hotel guests who don’t want to dine inside or sit outside at one of the tables along Ionia Avenue can order takeout or room service from the restaurant’s menu.
In a Tuesday news release Hinman Company CEO Roger Hinman said Wahlburgers will “enhance and complement the strong food scene in the City and will be a great destination for all residents and visitors to the area.”
Marketing and Leasing Vice President Anmar Atchu tells News 8 The Hinman Company “pursued several opportunities” in its quest to add a popular new dining option before deciding Wahlburgers was the right fit.
“Wahlburgers will be visible from Louis, Ionia, and Fulton St. and their vision for how to activate and energize this space aligned with our vision for the overall development. We are extremely excited,” Anmar Atchu, vice president of marketing and leasing for The Hinman Company, said.
“There is name recognition and it can serve as a destination for us, so I think it’s a positive sign,” Grand Rapids Planning Director Kristin Turkelson said of the restaurant’s arrival.
What can burgers do to help downtown? A lot, Turkelson said:
“Having a well-known recognized brand operate in our downtown, in our entertainment district, taking up a large floor area of a beautiful new building, that’s really important and I think the downtown as a whole should be able to benefit from that,” she said.
She added that the move to open during the pandemic shows confidence in our market, and the same confidence is demonstrated by construction across the city. While the construction permit values are lower, the number of permits have remained high.
“We’ve done a lot of great planning work, not just the city, but the community as a whole,” Turkelson said, “and I think that planning work has helped sustain us through these challenging times.”
This is Wahlburgers’ third existing location in Michigan; the other two restaurants are in Royal Oak and Detroit.
The restaurant franchise that started in Massachusetts a decade ago is the brain child of actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and their brother, Chef Paul Wahlberg. An A&E reality TV series about the restaurant chain and its owners ran for 10 seasons.
Officials with The Hinman Company expect construction to start within the next several weeks, with the restaurant opening late this summer.
Atchu says a second business that is new to the market will move into the retail space overlooking Fulton Street. That retailer will be announced in the coming weeks, according to Atchu.
—News 8’s Heather Walker contributed to this report.