ST. CHARLES – Geneva resident Heather Ingevaldson has been a fan of New Kids on the Block since the band first emerged on the music scene in the 1980s.
She came face-to-face with New Kids on the Block member and St. Charles resident Donnie Wahlberg on Friday after he broke ground on his signature Wahlburgers restaurant, which will be built at the southwest corner of Route 38 and Randall Road in St. Charles near the Meijer store.
Ingevaldson was holding a 30th anniversary vinyl copy of the band’s album “Hanging Tough,” which Wahlberg autographed for her.
“They are so good to their fans,” the 43-year-old Ingevaldson said. “I just love them. I feel like I’m a 13-year-old girl again.”
Wahlberg appeared at the June 4 St. Charles City Council meeting seeking approval for the restaurant plans.
The council approved the plans that night. Wahlberg’s appearance before the council aired on a recent episode of the “Wahlburgers” TV show.
Ingevaldson was among hundreds of fans who showed up Friday morning to catch a glimpse of Wahlberg, who also is one of the stars of the TV show “Blue Bloods.” Wahlberg and his wife, actress and TV/radio host Jenny McCarthy, live in St. Charles. Wahlberg and McCarthy were married in 2014 at the Hotel Baker in St. Charles.
Wahlburgers also plans to open a restaurant soon in Chicago, its first one in Illinois.
Ingevaldson said she plans to come back when the St. Charles restaurant opens later this year or early next year.
In breaking ground for the new restaurant, Wahlberg voiced appreciation to his fans and the area.
“If this is any indication of what we can expect when we open Wahlburgers, we’re going to have amazing success,” he said to the crowd.
Wahlburgers is a casual-dining burger restaurant and bar owned by chef Paul Wahlberg in partnership with two of his brothers, actors Donnie and Mark.
“I like to think of St. Charles much like I think of my brother Paul as the little engine that could that just keeps on chugging,” Donnie Wahlberg said. “Paul is a real underdog, and in my opinion, St. Charles is a bit of an underdog, too. But I think it’s the most amazing place to live, and it’s the most amazing place to raise my children with my wife, Jenny, a South Side Chicago girl. To be able to give back to this community that’s welcomed us like family is one of the proudest things that happened in my life.”