Citizen Wausau

A Site About Life in Wausau, Wisconsin

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Overlooked Losses

by on October 1st, 2007

pubThere has been a lot of press, blog entries and chatter about the closure of the Pub and the impact on the local music scene. There was considerable coverage of the Pub’s auction [it was unique to watch decades of history be divided into lots to be sold to the highest bidder]. What has not really been mentioned is that downtown Wausau has also lost another restaurant.

Yes, Scott Street was a great music venue, but am I the only one missing sizzler steaks, Pub Burgers, and grilled tuna sandwiches? Great food, great prices. The grill was open for lunch, stayed open later than most other downtown restaurants, and one of the few that operated on Sunday. As much as I miss playing at 124 (and 126) Scott Street, I truly miss stopping in to eat.

When I moved to the downtown area three and a half years ago, there had been considerable development to ‘save downtown’: the Heinemann Building apartments, the Gateway at Washington Square – including the Jefferson Street Inn and City Grill, the Jefferson Street Ramp and the River Place building (all connected via sky bridges!).

Since then, there has been more development: Opening the pedestrian Mall (a two phase project), the Dudley Tower, the Eye Clinic of Wisconsin project, and Rogers Theater converting into the Filmore.

The irony here is with all that development, there are fewer restaurants downtown now than even two years ago. I’m not implying the restaurant business is easy, [nor am I ignoring the fact that some of the closures are the result of really poor management, odd hours, etc.] but what I am saying is that with all this development downtown, there are fewer places to eat. That puzzles me.

Here is a list of recent downtown Wausau restaurant closures:

  • Scott Street Steak and Pub
  • Gelato Cafe (part of the ‘save downtown’ development buzz)
  • Stoney’s (replaced by Freddie’s)
  • Little Italy
  • Kelly’s Martini Bar (sometimes served food, replaced by III which will serve food)
  • Back to the Grind (coffee & snacks, replaced by Whey Cool)
  • Whey Cool (replaced by Allister Deacon’s Coffee House)
  • McDonald’s (rebuilding south of the Mall)
  • Subway on Third (will have a spot in the renovated Mall food court)
  • Maid-Rite (that had replaced a Subway that moved across the street, now an RStore Deli)
  • Jeannie’s Coffee (thankfully replaced by La Prima)
  • Big Apple Bagels

In fairness, I should mention that there are still great places to eat downtown:

  • The Mint
  • Peking
  • Chang Garden
  • City Grill
  • La Prima
  • Allister Deacon’s Coffee House (coffee house, snacks)
  • Mongolian Barbecue
  • Erbert and Gerbert’s
  • The BK Steak House (Burger King)
  • The Back When Cafe
  • Intermission Bar (more of a bar, serves some food)
  • Downtown Grocery dot com (daily food specials)
  • Subway (in the Olson renovation)

There are specialty restaurants (bistro’s, Chinese, Mexican), fast food joints, sandwich shops, coffee shops, and cafe’s (The Mint comes to mind), but Scott Street was the last of the traditional ‘bar and grills’ in downtown Wausau. A piece of downtown Wausau history has been completely overlooked.

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