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Monday, Jul 22, 2024

Making a Mark in Orange County

Actor Mark Wahlberg has often taken to Orange County to market his latest business ventures. However, the recent opening of his Flecha restaurant at the Bella Terra marks a physical entry in the region.

Wahlberg’s Mexican dining concept opened in May in a 9,892-square-foot space at the Huntington Beach shopping center, currently owned by a venture between San Jose-based developer DJM Capital and Prudential Real Estate Investors, the real estate investment division of Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Financial.

Bella Terra is currently reported to be up for sale, with an asking price near $300 million.
Flecha, meaning “arrow” in Spanish, borrows its name from Wahlberg’s tequila venture Flecha Azul that he invested in at the beginning of 2022. He now co-owns the company with co-founders Aron Marquez and professional golfer Abraham Ancer.

Last year, Wahlberg was seen making his rounds in OC. He was a guest at the Pendry Newport Beach hotel opening in October to promote, serve and drink the tequila with party attendees. Earlier in August, he hosted a Flecha event at a neighboring hotel, Vea Newport Beach.

Now he’s chosen Huntington Beach as the home to his flagship restaurant.

“I am thrilled to introduce this new creative venture, Flecha, which embodies my passion for exceptional cuisine and dynamic entertainment,” Wahlberg said in a statement.

“Bella Terra provides the ideal backdrop for this culinary expedition, and we are eager to offer residents of Huntington Beach and beyond an unparalleled upscale dining experience.”

Flecha will have a team of international chefs and mixologists who will curate the menu and beverage selections, which includes Flecha Azul tequila bottled on the shelves of the restaurant’s 360-degree bar.

It took three months to renovate the space and build it out.

“So many people have done so much to make this happen,” Wahlberg said at the restaurant’s opening event.

Wahlberg has been a worldwide movie star for almost three decades, winning fame for movies like “Boogie Nights,” “The Departed” and “Ted.” Earlier in his career, he was a member of the musical group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.


To enter OC, Wahlberg brought on a local executive with notable experience in the region and in Mexican dining.

Randy Sharpe, the former chief executive of El Torito-owner Xperience Restaurant Group, joined the Wahlberg brothers’ restaurant company Wahlburgers in February after five years manning the helm at Xperience in Cypress.

Sharpe was one of the team members involved in the quick buildout of the Flecha restaurant and was thanked by Wahlberg during the opening ceremony of the space last month.

The actor noted he met Sharpe when he was putting the Flecha tequila in Xperience’s portfolio of restaurants, which counted 80 locations in the U.S. during his tenure.

“This is the guy that I need in my world” to help all my restaurants, Wahlberg said of bringing him to the family’s business.

“I learned the hard way, that getting into the restaurant business is really tough and you have to have the right people,” he added.

“I couldn’t be [happier] to be back in Orange County and be in business here.”

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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