Fans show up in droves for opening of St. Charles Wahlburgers restaurant

ST. CHARLES – Decked out in a New Kids on the Block shirt, Megan Zilinger of Joliet was ready to meet New Kids on the Block member and St. Charles resident Donnie Wahlberg as she patiently waited in line Tuesday afternoon outside the newly opened Wahlburgers restaurant in St. Charles.

"I've been a fan at least 30 years," Zilinger said. "I grew up on their music. It was just danceable music and it was relatable."

Wahlberg and his wife, actress and television/radio host Jenny McCarthy, live in St. Charles. They greeted fans as the restaurant opened for business Tuesday morning.

McCarthy grew up on Chicago's south side. Zilinger attended the same high school as McCarthy – Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in Chicago.

"She had graduated by the time I got there," Zilinger said.

Accompanying Zilinger was her friend and neighbor, Shannon Godar.

"We're excited to try the food and hopefully meet Donnie," Godar said. "It's exciting. We're all New Kids fans from way back when. It would be exciting to actually meet him."

Kristi Williams, of North Aurora, was proudly wearing a hat autographed by Donnie Wahlberg and his brother, Wahlburgers executive chef Paul Wahlberg.

"They said thank you for coming," Williams said.

Her friend, Sarah Henneke, of Ottawa, was wearing a Wahlburgers shirt signed by Donnie Wahlberg.

"I've actually been to four different locations," she said. "This is from the Fenway location in Boston."

For Henneke, meeting both Donnie and Paul Wahlberg was an "awesome" experience.

"I was a fan of New Kids on the Block when I was a kid and never dreamed that this would even be possible some day," she said.

She also is a fan of the food at Wahlburgers.

"Paul has a secret sauce that's a really good sauce," Henneke said. "It's so delicious."