Last Thursday was a day of firsts when the Wahlburgers Favorites opened at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino Resort that is owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Tribe in New Mexico. 

The restaurant became the first Wahlburger restaurant to open in the state of New Mexico and the first to open in under a sub-franchise agreement between the restaurant chain and NativeWahl, a subsidiary of Little River Holdings, the economic development corporation of the Little River Tribe, base in Manistee, Mich. NativeWahl is led by Eugene Magnuson. 

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Wahlburgers is a casual dining burger restaurant founded by brothers Mark,  Donnie and Chef Paul Wahlberg. 

Heading the effort for the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino Resort is Frizzell Frizell, Jr., the resort’s chief operating officer. 

Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino Reort COO Frizzel Frizzel, Jr. and NativeWahl's Eugene Magnuson (Photo/Levi Rickert)

Frizzell says the resort explored ways to repurpose its buffet that was closed down during the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago. When the resort reopened, Frizzell and his team decided to convert the space into a food court for casino and resort patrons. The cost to convert the closed down buffet space into a food court setting was $5.5 million. 

The repurposed space made room for the Wahlburgers Favorites, a Sbarro Pizza, a coffee shop and other restaurants. 

NativeWahl and the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino Resort executed a sub franchise agreement in March 2022. The resort sent staff to the Wahlburgers training to learn how to properly prepare all the chain's products properly.

Cheeseburger and tater-tots (Photo/Courtesy)


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About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected]