Citizen Wausau

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The Wisconsin Pizza Factory

by on January 29th, 2008

Synopsis: Horrible food, very new and clean, attentive staff, bland decor, rather expensive for what you’re getting. Overall my kids love it but it could be so much better, and more enjoyable for adults. If you don’t have kids don’t even bother going; you’ll be sorely disappointed.

  • Food Quality – 1 of 5
  • Cleanliness – 5 of 5
  • Staff – 4 of 5
  • Ambiance – 2 of 5
  • Value – 2 of 5
  • Overall – 2.8 of 5

In light of the recent column in the WDH regarding restaurant choices in Wausau I’m going to begin to review various local restaurants. First on the list is The Wisconsin Pizza Factory located at 610 Creske Avenue in Rothschild.

This is a new restaurant only open for a few months. I’ve been three times, the latest being this past weekend. I have always gone with my children; my son is four and my daughter is two. The three of us have gone for “daddy’s night out” when mom had something else to do. Naturally, of course, my children think the name of the joint is Daddy’s Night Out.

The restaurant is a local, scaled back, knock off of Chuck E. Cheese’s. Chuck E. Cheese’s (at least the ones I’ve been to) you have to check your children in and only the person with the correct bracelet is allowed to take the children out. Chuck E. Cheese’s is not a buffet and you get some free tokens with your food purchase. Chuck E. Cheese’s is a several million dollar operation. None of the above things are true of the Wisconsin Pizza Factory.

The Wisconsin Pizza Factory (I think I’ll just put WPF from here on out) is a pizza buffet and everyone who enters the building must purchase a buffet. The good news is that children 3 and under are free. The is especially good news because the food is really lacking in quality. There is a salad bar, and the ingredients have always been very fresh when I’ve been there. I always start with a salad because while it’s not huge there is a good selection of toppings for the salads. After you get past the salad bar you get to the pizza. The pizza is incredibly bad. In fact, it’s probably the worst restaurant pizza I’ve ever had. I’d had substantially better pizza frozen from the grocery store. I have a really high tolerance for bad pizza so I still eat two or three slices when I visit, but people with a more discerning pizza palate may find the pizza inedible (good thing – salad is better for you anyway). At the end of the buffet line is a desert pizza. It is half cherry topping and half apple topping. The desert pizza is quite good. It’s the same style as the Pizza Hut buffet has, but I think that the WPF has a superior desert pizza to Pizza Hut.

Here’s the thing though: I don’t go the the WPF for the food. I go there because my kids like it. When we go I buy five dollars in tokens (it’s a special treat night after all) and we take turns playing the games for the tickets. There is a decent – if somewhat small arcade – and my kids just love running from game to game. There are also some games that only older kids would like. When we’ve used up our tickets the kids go to the two-story playland area and have a blast. My two year old has some trouble negotiating some areas of the playland, but her older brother is usually willing to help her out. When they tire of that we get our “prize” and go home. It’s not long before they are asking for Daddy’s Night Out again.

The staff of the restaurant is always very friendly and helpful. The place is clean and neat (it’s a brand new building so it would be hard for it to be too dirty yet). I never see tables that are left dirty for very long at all and the staff is quick to come along and take away dirty plates while you are eating.

The decor of the restaurant leaves a lot to be desired. But the owners have said that they are currently working on it. My understanding is that they are working to change the color palette (the decor is dominated by bare white walls and a few beverage signs currently) and possibly include some kid themed murals on the walls. Some sort of contractor or sales person was there measuring the place last time I was there.

Our last visit cost me about $20. For that I fed myself and my two kids and bought $5 in tokens. If you have a large family with children over three years old the WPF could get pretty expensive, especially if your kids won’t eat the pizza. The attractions would not come close to matching the admission fee if it didn’t involve feeding your kids. The WPF desperately needs to improve the quality of their food as well as the quantity of foods offered if they are going to have long term success. For just a few dollars more I can make peanut butter and jelly at home and then go to the Lodge at Cedar Creek. My kids would pick the Lodge over WPF every time.

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