Back When Cafe
Back When Cafe

Back When Cafe

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.backwhencafe.com/
  • Phone: (715) 848-5668
  • Hours of Operation:



    Dinner:

    Tuesday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm


    Closed Sunday & Monday
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, French, Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Jolene Lucci
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Farm to Table, Fireplace, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Wine
  • Catering: Check us out on facebook or contact Jolene for all your catering needs!
  • Private Party Facilities: Private and semi private rooms available, please contact us for details.
  • Private Party Contact: Jolene Lucci 7158485668

Getting there

  • Cross Street: McClellan St.
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Back When Cafe
A charming cafe serving farm to table style cuisine, with inventive twists on classic dishes. Located in historic downtown Wausau since 1991.

Sustainable, regional cooking at its best in a causal yet elegant environment with full bar and multiple wines by the glass. Open for Dinner
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerContemporary American
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Back When Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
37 reviews since July 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.5
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (26)fit for foodies (22)neighborhood gem (20)romantic (20)great for outdoor dining (19)notable wine list (17)good for groups (10)hot spot (4)great for lunch (2)late-night find (2)vibrant bar scene (2)scenic view (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Great Ambiance, slow service
    Jods
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    Went out for a special dinner, food was excellent, great wine list. Service started out ok. As the meal went on the service was non - existent. Didn't check if we needed more drinks or ask how our meals were. A different waiter walked by several times and finally asked if we would like a dessert menu. We looked but it was 17 minutes before a waiter returned and asked if we wanted anything. We declined and just asked for our check...which took another 10 minutes. He sure was quick to pick up the slip and showed the tip though. More than likely would go back, but may be a little hesitant because of the service. Sad thing, the tables were barely half taken.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Back When Cafe always a gem!
    Jewels
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    Great place for superb food, romantic night out, or celebrating a special occasion. Staff is awesome! Very helpful & friendly without being too over the top. The food was prepared perfectly from the veal to the pasta with mushrooms and shrimp. Top notch in every aspect!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Birthday Treat
    sciguy
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    Although we've lived in Wausau for more than two years and have heard good things about the Back When Cafe, this was our first visit. My wife treated me to a birthday dinner here. Excellent choice. Everything positive that we had heard was true. The quaint, old-time decor gave it a warm, pleasant ambience. On a cold night, we had a seat by the fireplace. I noticed several other rooms available, some for larger groups. The food and service definitely met or exceeded our expectations. We'll definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • excellent food & service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    We had a small team from work for dinner. Food and service were excellent. I would highly recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great place to eat!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    my wife and i always enjoy our dinners at the Back When Cafe. the food is delicious, menu is always changing with the seasons and the service in excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best in Wausau
    Eric1
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    Back When has the best cuisine coupled with great service and ambiance
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Back When
    Peter
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Incredible service, food, drinks. Beautiful old building restored to elegant ambiance. Attentive waitstaff. This is a gem in downtown Wausau that should not be missed!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The Back When Experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    I have been living in the Wausau area for over 13 years and for the last 10 I have been enjoying the Back When experience. Never opposed to serving off menu, always exited to share the wine not on the list and always about to accommodate the large groups the Back When has been my big city restaurant in a small town
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Simply perfect
    luv2dine
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    My husband I dine here every year on our anniversary. Back When Café does not disappoint. The food is delicious, from the appetizers to the main course. The presentation does not miss a single detail. The service is friendly yet professional. This year he choose a greek chicken dish and I had scallops. He raved for days how the chicken was so good. We ordered an appetizer and drinks. The appetizer was delectable and we were disappointed to see it gone!
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoyable evening!
    Tablefor2
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We were seated by a window and could enjoy outside atmosphere. Our waiter was most accommodating! Food was excellent from the small plates to our entree. Presentation a plus! We enjoyed our wine and were amazed by the wonderful desserts. The Towering Carrot Cake was a 2 person delicacy! Quite the talk of the "Cafe!" All servers helped other servers and tables were cleaned promptly with fresh linens. We enjoyed our night at "The Back When Cafe." We look forward to more dining experiences there.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Candid Chester
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Service was average. Bryan was server. Found long black human hair in salad. Martini and wine were fine. Ambiance was severely handicapped by crying and screaming young child! Dinners of veal and fish were average. After selecting desert and coffee, we waited 18 minutes at which time we decided to leave. Waiter intercepted us at hostess counter with deserts and coffee on serving tray and we informed him that we had waited too long. He apologized. Portions were typically American...too large. Would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • special dining
    localdiners
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Back When is our favorite local restaurant for a special dining experience. Excellent food, the best bruschetta in the world, lovely setting. I especially appreciate the range of choices, from small plates to full dinners. This time my husband ordered scallops in a wonderful cream sauce and when we asked, our server brought us several extra pieces of bread to use with the sauce, since it was so good we didn't want any to go to waste!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Awesome!
    TJG506
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    We eat at Back When often and always have a great experience. Food is awesome! Always have great service! Special requests to entrees are accommodated!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Awesome
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Had poor service in the past, now great service, food and wine. Nice to eat on the patio.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful evening!
    BirthdayGal
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Hubby and I enjoyed a quiet, relaxing dinner for two to celebrate my birthday on a Saturday night. Our meals were wonderfully and artfully prepared. I enjoyed the 4 oz. Angus tenderloin with wilted organic spinach over a bed of pasta with Alfredo sauce and a house salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Hubby had roasted duck with a Door County cherry sauce served with a side of mixed veggies that included orange and purple cauliflower florets. It also came with a house salad and roasted potatoes. For dessert I had Mama Lucci's Chocolate Cake with Bacon Chocolate Ganache. It was okay, but I much prefer their Big Fat Chocolate Cake, which they seem to have removed from the menu. Hubby truly enjoyed his Bourbon Pecan Pie.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 22 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 25, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance4.4
    • Service4.4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 137 reviews are from the Back When Cafe reviews archive.
  • Shoe1892
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    Again the very best food in the area. Great service and super friendly folks.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Meal
    JeremyH
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Back When. The Peach Balsamic Glazed Salmon was probably the best salmon I have ever eaten. The food and service were wonderful and well-worth the visit.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • One of my favorite places!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    Always great food! Friendly service, great atmosphere:)
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great dinner!
    JenS
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    On a rare child-free evening, my husband and I enjoyed an excellent anniversary dinner at the Back When Cafe. Everything was perfectly prepared and the sevice was terrific. The asparagus appetizer with blue cheese, bacon crumbles and balsamic glaze was especially yummy!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Positive Experience
    Gr8dane
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    Service was excellent, food was very good. Nice selection of scotch and wine. Will diffidently go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food and Wausau Theme
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    I took a business dinner party of 9 there on a Friday night. The atmosphere is very nice and the service is very good. This is one of the best places to take people in the Wausau area. The décor is specific to old Wausau history and the restaurant is located in a very nice central area of downtown. Perfect for showing out of town guests what Wausau is all about. Prices are not cheap, but not outrageous for the food. One of our guests indicated that the sea bass was the best he has ever had. All our guests were very happy with the restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unfortunately let down
    Foodreviewer
    Dined on 5/6/2014
    My last visit was after my wedding ceremony. Back when cafe is my favorite restaurant in town, but my last visit was truly disappointing. There was no champagne on the table like we requested when making the reservation, which was a disappointing start. The server was pleasant, but getting our food was very slow. We watched every table get their complimentary bread, and I finally had to ask for ours, then wait another 15minutes. When the bill came, they did nothing to compensate for a poor experience. I wouldn't set up a large party reservation there again.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/2/2014
    Excellent meal - presentation, freshness of food, preparation - all excellent. Service excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Terrible experience
    Angrybdaygirl
    Dined on 4/15/2014
    It was my birthday and we made the reservation online we put that in and no one acknowledged it. The staff was fighting on the floor and our waiter Jeremy was terrible. We waited for 30 minutes for our dessert and our waiter walked by us three times with no dessert. They were breaking down tables right next to and were being very loud. We felt like we were being pushed out the door. We kept waiting for them to say something about my birthday and they never did.I even asked what was going on and our waiter just said we don't like dirty tables. We made reservations and they put us in a corner table with no view of anything but the kitchen. This was a big deal for us since it was my birthday and I was upset when I left and it ruined the night.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • always fresh, healthy foods
    phillygirl
    Dined on 4/9/2014
    We had a wonderful birthday dinner. It was made special by our server. Super flavors and atmosphere. Only downside was we didn't have our leftover our leftover food when we looked in our box, just dessert. That was a bummer. Friendly atmosphere, great food.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dinner Out
    dinner42
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    We eat here often, but this time it was really loud. Otherwise it was as good as always
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, notable wine list, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service and food were excellent.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    Service and food were excellent. We asked our waiter for suggestions between a couple of entrees and a recommendation between a couple of wines. He was spot on! Very enjoyable evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Night out
    dinner42
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    We dine at the Back When a few times a year. Its our special Occasion place. I really can't say anything negative about dining there. But the last time it was on the louder side. This is not a restaurant that is a fast food dining experience. If you are in a hurry go to McDonald's. This is the kind of place you eat each course and enjoy the good food and drink before going on to the next course.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • a little on expensive side...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 3/21/2014
    a little on expensive side... bill was 240 for 4 people (60 per person), but food and service were excellent!! it was worth it.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Can not accomodate a large group
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 3/7/2014
    I was really looking forward to having dinner here, but the service was very poor. The server was nice enough, but she could not accomodate our party of 9 people. I understand that it's hard to handle multiple checks(we had four checks for our party), but it was completely screwed up. Not one person got the right check, everyone was charged incorrectly. Also, the service was incredibly slow. The restaurant was not crowded on the Friday night we were there, yet we sat with our menus in our laps for 30 minutes before the server came to take our orders. The food was good, but not great. They used quality ingredients, but they had little flavor. Unfortunately, I'm in no hurry to go back to Back When.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • what a surprise
    newtowausau
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    Great food, excellent service & we were so pleasantly surprised by downtown wausau & our dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wausau favorite
    WindyCityFansVIP
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    No trip to Wausau is complete without a dinner at Back When Cafe. Our family travels from Chicago to Granite Peak ski area every winter and have always planned at least one dinner at Back When whenever we are in Wausau. Favorites include the bacon wrapped scallops, duck with cherry orange sauce, veal piccata and steaks. All as good or better than any in Chicago. Dinners include soup or salad and portions are generous. The Back When wait staff are friendly and welcoming. When we first started dining at Back When, our children were in middle school and enjoyed the pasta dishes. Now they are off to college and Back When remains their favorite Wausau restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love Back When
    Bwag
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    Perfect place to unwind after a stressful week with my man. Great food, drinks and atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Go back again and again!
    SkiFan
    Dined on 2/22/2014
    We don't live nearby, but each time we make it back up to Wausau we try to get to Back When Cafe. The food is amazing, the atmoshpere is delightful, and the concept of using local farms and vendors is admirable. We will definitely go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Had a wonderful dinner
    Patty
    Dined on 2/19/2014
    Birthday celebration meal followed by a concert at Grand Theater. Meal was superb with excellent service. Small touches that added to the elegant feel yet not pretentious. Totally recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoyable Dinner
    Foodieproudofit
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    Dinner was excellent for me. I had the Chilean Sea Bass in parchment paper. So yummy. However one of my friends had the steak and it was not hot when delivered at table. She would not complain, if had I am sure our waiter would have fixed that! Everybody else had a great dinner and we are all glad we choose this restaurant. It was valentines day so we each received a rose. Nice touch!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, late-night find, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our favorite go to restaurant
    Lulubell
    Dined on 2/8/2014
    Whenever we want a fabulous dinner out, with good predicitible food, we always choose Back When. This weekend we took our 9 year old daughter for a special occasion. They were very accomidating for her favorite items not found on the menu. This made the evening memorable at the "grown up" restaurant. Of course we will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • As always, excellent - we
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    As always, excellent - we are never disappointed. Thank You
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fab service
    shells
    Dined on 1/31/2014
    Our waitress, Ashley, was completely awesome! Food was great, martinis were great and the dessert was out of this world!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awkward, rude, and untrained server
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 1/18/2014
    When asked what the hot topics were on the menu the servers answered " I don't know I didn't read the paper" ( an attempt at humor) and then "I don't know I can't afford to eat here". Awkward at best! When our entrées came all was well at first but our server never came to check on us for the whole meal then when my brother bit into his second meatball it was not seasoned and nasty tasting. The first meatball was good, we all tried it but the second didn't taste good at all. Not a huge deal, but when we told the waiter, he took it personally and was overly rude!! He said " I didn't make it" "so, do you want me to bring the chef over and you can tell him?". We were all floored, how upset he was! Read More @yelp review
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate