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Back When Cafe
Back When Cafe

Back When Cafe Details

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


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

    Closed Sunday & Monday
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American, Italian, French
  • 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 (715) 848-5668

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
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerContemporary American
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Diner Reviews
  • "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!"
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 8/7/2014
  • "Had poor service in the past, now great service, food and wine. Nice to eat on the patio."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "Again the very best food in the area. Great service and super friendly folks."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Always great food! Friendly service, great atmosphere:)"
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Service was excellent, food was very good. Nice selection of scotch and wine. Will diffidently go back."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/6/2014
  • "Excellent meal - presentation, freshness of food, preparation - all excellent. Service excellent. "
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "We eat here often, but this time it was really loud. Otherwise it was as good as always"
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "a little on expensive side... bill was 240 for 4 people (60 per person), but food and service were excellent!! it was worth it."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Great food, excellent service & we were so pleasantly surprised by downtown wausau & our dining experience."
    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."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Perfect place to unwind after a stressful week with my man. Great food, drinks and atmosphere."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 2/19/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "As always, excellent - we are never disappointed. Thank You"
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "Our waitress, Ashley, was completely awesome! Food was great, martinis were great and the dessert was out of this world!"
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "My sister and I had a meal here while staying overnigh in Wausau. The restaurant is nice with lots to catch your eye. We had a few people in the area praise them up for the food. I had been there years before and was underwhelmed but thought I would try it again. Bacon wrapped Scallops - ok but not great, Lobster Bisque - ok but not amazing; lobster ravioli in tomatoe basil sauce - sauce was overwhelming and you could not taste the lobster. The overall meal experience was nice, good drinks, good company, good service, nice attmosphere but I had to say the food is nothing amazing. I stick by my first experience, nice place but don't expect to be wowed by the food. It just ok."
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "Always a great meal at Back When Cafe. This is one of our go to restaurants in town when we want an excellent meal. They also have a great wine list, tons to choose from."
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "I originally made a reservation for a birthday dinner and wanted something near our hotel, the Jefferson Street Inn. To my surprise, I was proposed to the day before and my fiancee called to ask for a more intimate table. The lady was very nice and said don't you worry we will set up something nice for you. We arrived and were placed in a corner table with no ambiance or privacy. Our server came to our table and right away asked if we want something to drink. No HI no introduction, nothing. Seemed very rushed and it wasn't that busy in there. The food was okay, at the end of the dinner I expected since I noted that not only were we celebrating a birthday but also an engagement that they would offer a free dessert or something! And nothing."
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "My daughter and I ate here one evening before we when to the theater. Food was VERY good. It was a little expensive (not expecting that based on the fact it is called a "cafe"), but the quality of food was well worth it. The only thing that disappointed me was the fact that the waitress asked both of us if we wanted soup or salad with our meals. We both ordered a salad only to find out when we got the bill that each salad cost an additional $6 - I was assuming it was part of our entrees. Would have appreciated a heads up from the waitress that this was an added expense, especially since we also ordered a $15 appetizer. Overall it was very good though. Food was great and I LOVED the "farm to table" organic menu items and gluten free noodles."
    Dined on 1/7/2014
  • "despite reservation made timely we were seated in an attic; very disappointed of the service; food was great"
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "Excellent food and attentive service. The menu has many different choices, making this a good place to bring friends who have varied tastes in food."
    Dined on 12/27/2013
  • "we spent 2 nights in Wausau for a ski vacation and decided to try Wausau's fine dining option the first night. Back When Cafe offered a menu that appealed to everyone in our family - multiple gluten free and vegetarian choices made everyone happy. And it was really good food! We enjoyed it so much that we came back the next night, and next time we're in Wausau we will be at the Back When!"
    Dined on 12/26/2013
  • "My wife and I took our kids after a day of skiing. Ribs, veal, chicken, and pasta were outstanding. Dessert was a hit too. Service and atmosphere were impeccable. Back When is a gem!"
    Dined on 12/26/2013
  • "Back When Cafe never disappoints! Excellent farm to table cuisine with an inventive and expansive menu. Make sure to try the pear and Brie crostini and the bruschetta."
    Dined on 12/21/2013
  • "Back When is the best restaurant in Wausau. Delicious food and outstanding service! A great place to go for a celebration or for spending quality time with the people you love. Highly recommended experience."
    Dined on 12/19/2013
  • "The bar area, though small, had a unique selection of local brews, a variety of high-end spirits, and a wine list that seemed to go on forever. The dinner seating is divided into two rooms, one of which is perfect for larger gatherings (Holiday parties, anniversary dinners, etc). Our server was magnificent, and made you feel as though he was genuinely concerned for you to have the best experience possible. Expect to $pay$ for your dinner, since the lightest selections start at about $15. This is the restaurant you go to when you are looking to have a 2 hour dining experience... don't stop here for a quick bite! It is worth every minute and dollar spent. Take your time, savor the flavors, and enjoy!"
    Dined on 12/14/2013