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. 

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

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)


More Stories Like This

House Passes Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Deal; How Native American Members of Congress Voted
History Made as First Navajo Appointed U.S. Federal Judge in California
California Bill Aims to Increase State Funding for Tribal Housing
Navajo Nation Leaders Recognized the Fallen on Memorial Day
This Day in History — May 28, 1830, Andrew Jackson Signs Indian Removal Act

Native News is free to read.

We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps.  Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" 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].