Back When Cafe

4.6
717 Reviews
$30 and under
Contemporary American
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
What 717 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.7
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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RK
RKxxx
1 review
Dined on June 5, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience4

Food was great. Busy Saturday evening. Our server was stretched too thin, had 3 other servers help her with our table. One of 2 salads was delivered, entrees came out, no sides, had to ask for the other salad and utensils. Ordered wine when entrees arrived. Wine arrived mid-way through dinner. Empty plates were stacked on my wife’s setting to add insult to injury. Either front end management was poor or server was. Most likely a combination of both. Other servers were able to handle their tables with grace. Our’s was overwhelmed and/or overworked. Note to management: don’t give me the “we’re short of staff due to Covid” routine. Manage your staff better.

j
vipjomamq
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It's so great to be at restaurants again. Their outdoor patio is wonderful!

TL
TimL
Milwaukee
6 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

New staff very friendly

KA
vipKATREENA
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on June 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing! Food was great, drinks were great, had a 2 & 3 year old with us, timing was great and we were thrilled!

NB
NancyB
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Warm and welcoming. Quaint cozy atmosphere; delicious food; broad red wine list; classic cocktails. Owner greeting guests and clearing tables obviously caring for her customers. A real gem.

MB
MikeB
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and drinks and service was very good considering they were busy

J
vipJohn
Milwaukee
3 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always enjoy dinner at Back When!
Great food, personable staff, pleasant ambience.

F
Firsttimevisitor
1 review
Dined on May 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food, great service. Finally, a resturant that knows how to do medium rare correctly!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I, for years now, make it a point to eat at Back When every time we go to our cabin in Harrison Hills. It’s our special date night place! We love the atmosphere, service is great, and their food is constantly delicious with a unique menu. I must add, they have a nice wine menu, too! We highly recommend Back When!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on May 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Have never tried this place, and I am so glad my wife’s birthday gave us reason to make a reservation. Excellent bartender who knew his stuff. Our waitress was helpful and funny. It felt great to interact with someone who understands that serving is not just taking orders and bringing out food. Great experience.

The food itself? Fantastic! We both had the ribeye her medium and mine medium-rare. Few places these days cook to medium-rare correctly. The cooks at BWC do it right. The roasted potatoes tasted butter and seasoned, but I’m there for the main course, so I focus on the steak.

Excellent experience that will bring us back for more.

JP
JeffP
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

It was our first time. We were impressed and will definitely come back again?

JN
JadeN
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love this gem in downtown Wausau. The food is consistently good, wine list has some great wine (love the Caymus and house Pinot Noir) and the atmosphere is

H
Hammer
Milwaukee
3 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We made a great choice for celebrating our 38th anniversary. We would highly recommend it to all!

h
homermitzielsataffy
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience2

First timers on a busy Saturday night with a reservation, excited to try Back When!
Hurried management (? or host) and bartenders gave minimal eye contact; sweet waitress was accommodating but harried. No mention of our anniversary that I included on reservation.
For something we expected as "farm fresh" it was more of a traditional American fare and vegetables/salads/sides tasted more corporate/premade than fresh. On-line menu (eg fresh fish option) didn't match the in-person menu (we were told that the Facebook page is more regularly updated).
Finally, poor cocktail I was too intimidated to send back, and the most expensive cocktail in Wausau over the entire weekend ($12).
Perhaps this is more for locals; others seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Tip: request small table in bar by window, or the middle dining room. End dining room is extremely loud & hard to hold a conversation.

d
dougn
Minneapolis
10 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always the best in Wausau and does not disappoint!

w
wausau
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on April 24, 2021
Overall1food3service1ambience2

Had a 6:30 reservation and weren't seated at a table until 7:45. Was very slow and poor.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on April 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent waitress. Great atmosphere. Varied menu options. Well made cocktails. Delicious food.

k
vipkashu
Minneapolis
12 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2021
Overall3food2service3ambience4

The steak was served cold. The tuna was so cold that it seemed to have been just taken from the fridge and served as freshly seared. The meat dinners were served in a bowl with a large amount of liquid in the bottom, not very appetizing. The apps were delicious and the drinks were ok.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on March 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was excellent and the service was great. Such a fun night out!

d
dougn
Minneapolis
10 reviews
Dined on March 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always wonderful and welcoming!

TB
TheresaB
St. Louis
2 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Fantastic food and gluten free choices along with GF dessert. All Good!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful service and fantastic meal!

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
2 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food, service & ambiance.....perfection!

A
Amanda
1 review
Dined on February 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Fantastic steaks and desserts. Great staff as well.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Hawaii
5 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Get the Gnocchi!!!!

MS
MarciaS
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

It was Goid except the wrong dinner was brought to me and then my husband was almost finished eating by the time I got mine.

M
Michelle
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Food and service was outstanding per usual. I was concerned with the lack of social distancing at this restaurant.

DC
DaveC
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Good place to go on Valentines Day. Good food and service.

JS
JeffreyS
Milwaukee
3 reviews
Dined on February 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Back When is Wausau’s best restaurant! There attention to detail is amazing. Always great!

KL
KevinL
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was Terrific, service was Fantastic! Everytime we come to Wausau we eat here!

SY
SunshineYogi
1 review
Dined on February 6, 2021
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Amazingly delicious food. Every bite was exceptional. Had a server who was still learning the ropes, but tried his best. Overall a fantastic birthday treat!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2021
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Went in the middle of a snow blizzard as they were one of the few places open. They were understaffed from the look of things but that didn’t take away from the culinary experience. Would highly recommend this place!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome food. Great service. Warm elegant atmosphere with a lot of happy customers. Wonderful vibe.

j
josie
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Even though they were very busy and obviously short staffed, we had a great expereince for our 31 year wedding anniversary!

C
Christen
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Highly recommend Back When Cafe. The service was excellent and the food was exceptional. Started with the calamari and roasted Brussel sprouts & bacon which were Crispy and the Brussels were cooked to perfection. We had the brie stuffed salmon with poached pears and a balsamic glaze - absolutely delicious! Also had the penne pasta with grilled chicken and vegetables in a pesto cream sauce. The sauce was velvety and not too rich. Beyond stuffed, we couldn't resist dessert, ordered turtle cheesecake and molten lava cake to share. The cheesecake was light and full of flavor. The caramel, chocolate & pecans were swirled in. The molten lava cake may have been some of the best we've ever had - ice cream to accompany each bite was a must!

s
sherry
1 review
Dined on January 22, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Server was very sweet and kind. She made sure we had a great experience. I do not eat carbs and asked for a substitute for starch side with my tuna. She offered a side of veggies. the food was great. Presentation was beautiful. my husband had chicken with mushrooms. he liked his dinner as well. than we got the bill. I was charged $5 for that side of veggies. why wouldn't she of told me that. I would of skipped them. And why wouldn't the restaurant have a healthy option for the starch? The atmosphere was wonderful. the website for making a reservation was a breeze.

T
Tbird
1 review
Dined on January 22, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Love this restaurant, it is always great quality and service.

TB
TheresaB
St. Louis
2 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Way Back Cafe is a must for dinner and dessert whenever visiting Wassau. The ambience, service and food are all A+++.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Special dinner with my son

D
Delicious
1 review
Dined on January 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding food quality which you will pay for, but very nice place and excellent service and atmosphere. Best resturant in town!

FAQs

Back When Cafe offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (715) 848-5668.

Back When Cafe is rated 4.6 stars by 717 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.