Before diving into the gluten and dairy-free options to be had at Wahlburgers, a newcomer to the Orlando “premium burger scene,” I’ll admit that I have very minimal knowledge about who the Wahlburgs are and what they’ve done in the entertainment world.
With the help of my good friend Google, here’s some context: Wahlburgers was founded by Paul Walhberg, the chef among the Wahlburg brothers (Mark and Donnie). The creation of his Boston-based burger restaurant sparked a television show, and eventually expansion beyond Beantown (see that here).
You don’t need that level of analysis to enjoy Wahlburgers, but it certainly will help the decor and menu items make a little more sense. What makes a lot of sense? Their gluten-free offerings, which are certainly numerous.
When dining at Wahlbugers, you can choose from table service (with a dedicated server) or quick service (fast food style). I chose the latter, because my mom and I were looking for an in-and-out quick lunch. The same menu is used for both serving styles.
All of Wahlburger’s sandwiches and burgers can be made on gluten-free bread or buns. As sides, the fries and tater tots (sweet potato and regular potato) are made in a dedicated fryer. In addition, all Caesar salads are made with gluten-free croutons. Although buns are normally buttered and toasted, gluten-free bread options are served untoasted and sans butter.
With these offerings explained by the cashier, gluten-free options are not marked on the menu, nor are any other allergies or vegan options noted. It definitely made it trickier to try to parse what might be safe given the impatience of the staff member keying in my order.
An allergy label is attached to the order to let the kitchen know to handle the order carefully to minimize cross contamination. I ordered the Our Burger, a basic hamburger sans cheese. I subbed a turkey burger patty in lieu of a hamburger, because I do not eat red meat. As a side, I selected the sweet potato tater tots.
The burger arrived a short time later, with all the edits I made except for requesting sauce on the side. The “wahl sauce” is a mix of ketchup, sriracha, and mayonnaise, and is gluten-free. The sweet potato tater tots were definitely delicious- after all, it’s hard to mess up a fried sweet potato- but a little under-done. I prefer my tater tots crunchy with a soft interior, and these were soft from outer shell to interior.
The first thing I noticed about the burger is that the bun was almost two times bigger than the meat itself. Not only that, but it was crumbly and stale tasting, so halfway though eating my burger, I shed the bun altogether and ate the contents with a fork.
The turkey burger was the best part of the burger, and was tender and juicy. It had a nice grilled taste that was enhanced by ample seasoning. The other ingredients present- onions, lettuce, tomato, and pickles were alright, not anything special though. I did not care for the wahl sauce, as I am normally don’t eat mayo, sriracha, or ketchup on a regular basis.
From the reviews I’ve seen by other gluten-free patrons, I had sky-high expectations going into my Wahlburgers meal. I really tried to like this place, I really did, but left ultimately unimpressed. The kicker for Wahlburgers was the subpar food and even worse service. Slow and inattentive, the staff barely gave me confidence that my meal would be safe.
I’ve had far better burgers elsewhere, think that the famed last name alone is not a reason to go. Where I could see Wahlburgers earning points in the future is having an interactive allergen menu (on a tablet), or at least a gluten-free menu. That, and a much better bun would make me a happier customer.
Address: 200 S. Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801
Cuisine: Fast Food American
Ideal For: Lunch, Dinner
Price: See prices on their online menu right here
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
Disclaimer: This review is based upon the information I have at the time of the review and does not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.