A&E reality show “Wahlburgers” is first and foremost a family affair. Over the course of 10 seasons, viewers got to better know Mark Wahlberg, Donnie Wahlberg, Paul Wahlberg, and family matriarch Alma Wahlberg as they navigated the difficulties of expanding the family restaurant business nationwide.
That said, given the family’s celebrity status, the show naturally also featured a number of famous faces. Since premiering in 2014, the show has featured plenty of the types of A-listers you would expect to see associated with the Dorchester family, like Boston sports legends David Ortiz and Rob Gronkowski. But some of the show’s guests have also been pretty unexpected.
With “Wahlburgers” coming to an end with a 3-episode series finale on Wednesday night starting at 8 p.m. on A&E, here’s a look back at some of the notable names that have made appearances in episodes over the years.
Episodes: “Here’s the Drill,” Season 2, 2014, “Krafting a Patriotic Burger,” Season 4, 2015, ” “Drama Meets Drama,” Season 5, 2016
Gronk appeared in a smaller roles in several episodes, but his first and biggest role was the season 2 premiere back in 2014. When Paul needs fantasy football tips, he reaches out to Gronk, and gives the Patriots tight end cooking tips in return.
Robert Kraft and Julian Edelman
Episode: “Krafting a Patriotic Burger,” Season 4, 2015
Paul travels to Gillette Stadium, where he pitches a series of Patriots-themed burger ideas to the team owner, with Gronkowski and Edelman pitching in feedback as well. The winning item was a burger topped with four onion rings, one for each of the team’s Super Bowl wins at the time. It’s probably lucky the team had won only four Super Bowls to that point, as the same burger today would be pretty onion-heavy with six rings.
Episode: “Should I Stay Orr Should I Go?,” Season 3, 2014
The gang surprises Paul by introducing him to his hero, Bruins legend Bobby Orr, over a game of golf at the Ridge Club in Sandwich. “He was on my pajamas when I was a kid,” says an awestruck Paul. “And I can’t even look up and make eye contact with him.”
Episode: “Should I Stay Orr Should I Go?,” Season 3, 2015
In the season 3 premiere, Paul visited the home of Big Papi to cook up a burger using Dominican-inspired flavors for the restaurant’s burger of the month. The burger seemed to go over well, with Ortiz offering to let Paul cook for him every day if he wants.
The Cast of “Entourage”
Episode: “Drama Meets Drama,” Season 5, 2016
At the 2015 premiere of the “Entourage” movie, a continuation of the HBO series based on Mark and his own personal entourage, Mark’s pal Johnny Drama meets and chats with Kevin Dillon, the actor who plays the onscreen Johnny Drama. Along with quick appearances from “Entourage” cast members Adrien Grenier and Rex Lee, the crew solicits birthday messages for Alma from celebs like Dennis Haysbert (“24”), Patrick Warburton (“Seinfeld”), and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane.
Sean Combs and Peter Berg
Episode: “Directing Drama,” Season 5, 2016
While “Wahlburgers” is ostensibly about running a restaurant chain, the show’s plot lines often veered far from that conceit. In the season 5 premiere, Wahlberg family friend Johnny Drama wants to start a music career, and Mark Wahlberg enlists rapper/producer Sean “Puffy” Combs and director Peter Berg to help him make a music video.
Justin Timberlake, Jim Harbaugh, Jason Day and Bubba Watson
Episode: “Paul-itics,” Season 6, 2016
In the episode’s B-story, Mark plays the Pebble Beach Pro-Am charity golf tournament, chatting up celebs like singer Justin Timberlake and Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, while his entourage seek out his competitors in an attempt to trash talk them and throw them off their game. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t work.)
Episode: “Wahlformers,” Season 7, 2016
In an inspired bit of comedy, Mark continually tries to sneak Wahlburgers product placement into scenes he’s filming for the fifth “Transformers” movie, while director Michael Bay serves as the straight man who disapproves.
Dele Alli, Ledley King, and Michel Vorm
Episode: “Bend it Like Wahlberg,” Season 7, 2016
Paul and Mark travel to London in the hopes of opening a Wahlburgers inside the newly built stadium of English Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur. After being shown around the facilities by club legend King, the duo take the field to take penalty kicks on goalkeeper Vorm and try to save shots by attacking midfielder Alli. Unsurprisingly, neither fares particularly well against the two pros.
Penn & Teller
Episode: “Magic Mark,” Season 8, 2017
For the VIP opening of Wahlburgers in Las Vegas, Paul brings in Penn & Teller to add some magic to the proceedings.
Episode: “What It Do in Des Moines,” Season 10, 2019
When the Red Sox bested the Yankees at Fenway Park on Aug. 5, 2018, former Yankees slugger turned MLB analyst Alex Rodriguez lost a bet with Mark, and agreed to work a shift in the Fenway Park Wahlburgers the next time ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball crew visited Boston. Camera crews were on hand when A-Rod stepped behind the grill prior to Boston’s Sept. 9 matchup against the Houston Astros.