Mark Wahlberg, Donnie Wahlberg and Paul Wahlberg Host VIP Preview Party at Wahlburgers Coney Island

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Coney Island got a dose of star power last night when visitors got a “sneak peek” of New York’s first Wahlburgers, courtesy of owners and brothers Mark Wahlberg, Donnie Wahlberg and Paul Wahlberg.The red carpet event was an unlikely sight for Coney Island, which is now rebuilding after damage caused to the area by Hurricane Sandy. For Donnie, the cause is personal. “I lost my own home to Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey,” he said. “I know how important it is to reinvest and to believe in an area that needs it. And, Coney Island needs it.”

Mark Wahlberg, who was hand in hand throughout the evening with wife Rhea Durham, echoed his brother’s sentiment in saying, “I think Coney Island really chose us. Plus, it’s such an iconic location.”

The party reflected the brothers’ humble, Boston roots, which is also evident in Wahlburgers Coney Island, which will open in early July. “Wahlburgers is a place where people are happy to be,” said Paul. “We’re happy to have you in there. We give people that feeling of being welcome and being home.”

Guests enjoyed a sampling of Wahlburgers’ hamburgers, which are made from what Paul calls a “proprietary blend” and topped with an ingredient the brothers grew up with: government cheese.

The event began with a ribbon cutting by Donnie, Paul, Wahlburgers’ New York partner, John Cestare and City Councilman Mark Treyger. After cutting the ribbon, Donnie held the giant scissors in the air, and hugged his brother, Paul. He then gave a speech to fans, sharing his excitement about bringing Wahlburgers to Coney Island. Later, as Baruch Shemtov from New York’s FOX affiliate was reporting from the event, he, and his viewers, got a surprise with the ultimate video bomb when Donnie unexpectedly hopped into the shot. About being spared from a forecast of heavy rain and hail, Donnie told Shemtov, “I called my man J.C. and said, ‘listen man, part the clouds.’” He added during the surprise interview, “I love Brooklyn. I love New York.”

Actors Abigail Hawke and Len Cariou attended the event in support of Donnie, who is their “Blue Bloods” co-star. Chicago Bulls shooting guard, Jimmy Butler, joined the group, as well, happily mingling with fans. Hawke looked striking in a black Halston Heritage jumpsuit and Calvin Klein pumps.

ABOUT WAHLBURGERS
Founded by Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg and celebrity brothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg, Wahlburgers debuted in October 2011 in Hingham, Mass. Also the subject of an A&E reality show, Wahlburgers offers a fun, casual music-filled atmosphere where guests, like family, share great food, a few laughs and lots of love. While its interior décor is filled with photos and memories celebrating the brothers’ life journeys from Dorchester, Mass. neighborhood kids to rising chef and international superstars, Wahlburgers makes food the real star. Guests enjoy delicious fresh ground beef burgers, pure beef hot dogs, crispy fries, onion rings, tater tots, signature salads, specialty frappes, beer and cocktails – all served with heartfelt hospitality. Dedicated to giving back, Wahlburgers is active in every community it serves. Open daily for lunch and dinner, Wahlburgers offers fast casual and table service. For locations and more information visit http://www.wahlburgersrestaurant.com.

ABOUT WAHLBURGERS CONEY ISLAND
Wahlburgers at Coney Island is located at 3015 Stillwell Ave., serving gourmet burgers and specialty drinks made popular by the original fast-casual burger restaurant in Boston. The 6,800-square-foot restaurant, bar and retail shop overlooking Coney Island’s famous boardwalk and beach will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7:30 a.m. to close. More information is available at www.wahlburgersny.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wahlburgersconeyisland.

Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/WireImage