“I think when Paul originally came to me and talked about doing this concept after we had opened Alma Nove, I wasn’t really into the idea,” Mark said on Tuesday during a Q&A launch event for the restaurant’s newest locations in Hangzhou, Wuhan and Shanghai, China.
Eventually, he said, “I realized what a great opportunity it would be to build a business with my family and pass it on to generations.” When asked directly if he hopes to pass the business — which rose in popularity after their A&E show, Wahlburgers — on to his kids Ella, 13, Michael, 10, Brendan, 8, and Grace, 7, he said, “Yes, that is the hope and the dream. Absolutely.”
Family has been a big part of the restaurant’s success and Mark credits his classically trained chef-brother, Paul, for much of it. “Paul will be fluent in many asian dialects by the time this is over because he doesn’t allow anything to happen without his approval,” he said, “and again, the reason why we opened and started this business is because of Paul’s talent.”
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Through their partnership with Cachet Hospitality Group, the company — which currently has 14 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada — also has plans to also expand to Hong Kong and Thailand. Each will have a “local feel” of the region, said Paul.
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“We try to do that in the restaurants currently where when we go into a new area, we’re looking for local dairy to supply ice cream and milk. We’re looking for local bakers, we’re trying to do as much local as possible,” he said. “So that will definitely translate over into Asia.”
With reporting by BRIANNE TRACY