Writer / Seth Johnson
Photographer / Sarah Browning
When looking for a place to start a new location in Indiana, leaders of the Wahlburgers franchise saw the City of Carmel as a fitting destination for more reasons than one.
“The Wahlburgers team decided to settle on Carmel for its known close-knit and fast-growing community,” says Brendan Reed, general manager of the Wahlburgers in Carmel. “Since Wahlburgers is all about family, food and fun, Carmel was the perfect location for a burger spot that any generation can enjoy.”
Originally founded in 2011 by brothers Donnie, Mark and Paul Wahlberg, Wahlburgers now has 49 locations and counting around the world. Known for pub-style offerings, Wahlburgers opened its Carmel location on April 24, 2021, and has already found great success.
“Based on the feedback from our guests, it’s been very well-received,” Reed says. “We have many repeated customers and many upcoming events for the summer. People call and ask all the time what we have coming up since we’re a prime location in Carmel.”
Having worked in the service industry his whole life, Reed was excited when he heard Wahlburgers was planning to start a Carmel location.
“Of course, I’ve always been a huge fan of the Wahlbergs – Donnie, Mark and their acting,” Reed says. “I always loved the Wahlburgers show too. I watched it since it first came on. So when I found out there was one coming to Carmel, I was like, ‘Man, that’d be a perfect opportunity.’”
When it comes to customers’ favorite burgers on the Wahlburgers menu, Reed points to the BBQ Bacon and the Super Melt. As for appetizers, he recommends customers try the restaurant’s Buffalo Chicken Wahlbites or their Crispy Fried Pickles.
On the bar side of things, Reed says Carmel customers have been fond of one signature drink in particular.
“We also have a full bar and signature drink called the Markie Mark Sour,” Reed says. “It consists of Maker’s Mark, lemon juice and simple syrup, and it’s garnished with a lemon peel and cherry. It’s hugely popular.”
As for his staff, Reed says he looks to hire people who accurately reflect the restaurant’s family-friendly character.
“I usually look for someone who’s passionate and wants to grow the brand – someone who treats our guests like they’re family at the dinner table, and someone who has great positive energy,” Reed says. “We don’t take well to negativity here at the store. We’re all about fun and dedication.”
Looking ahead to the rest of this summer, Reed says Carmel customers can expect a Light for Levi charity event at the restaurant, as well as live music out on the Wahlburgers patio.
“The guy’s name is Tommy Baldwin,” Reed says of the live music plans. “He’s huge in the community. He’s going to be playing on our patio quite a bit over the summer.”
Ultimately, Reed hopes to continue making an impact in the Carmel community through Wahlburgers, while also ensuring customers leave the restaurant full and satisfied.
“First and foremost, I always want to make sure the guest experience is top-notch,” Reed says. “I take a lot of pride in that. A big thing for me is getting people to come back in the doors. I also want to get out in the community and do things for the community. I like to give back.”
The Wahlburgers location in Carmel is at 1200 South Rangeline Road, Suite 103. For more info, call 317-810-9999 or visit wahlburgers.com.