by Dan Newman
Wausau on Water, or WOW for short, is the city’s only riverfront restaurant and bar. They make this claim because in addition to their ample parking lot, they also have a place to dock your boat nearby if that’s how you’re traveling. These docks take you to Wausau’s beautiful Riverwalk, and WOW is just on the other side of the path. To make this place more unique, they also have a large patio dining area, an arcade for the kids, and a complete two-story laser tag arena.
The dining area is separate from the arcade, and could be called vast. There’s a 360 degree bar in the middle, and there are booths and tables all around. For Packer fans, a bit of trivia you might like to know: The bar actually came from Curly’s Pub at Lambeau Field.
Check out my video review to see the arcade, laser tag arena, the food and the whole place.
The high ceilings and the spacious layout make it a comfy place to hang out and get your drink on, have dinner with friends, or in my case, get a quick lunch and enjoy the view. One wall is floor to ceiling windows that overlook the beautiful Wisconsin River.
The menu has appetizers such as deep fried pickles, cheese curds and Korean BBQ tacos. Entrees include pasta, sandwiches, burgers, pizza and desserts. They have vegetarian options as well, and a kids menu because children make up a significant part of this WOW’s customer base.
I went with the Classic Cuban, paid an up charge of 25 cents for Cajun seasoning on the house fries that came with the meal, and washed it all down with a Pepsi. The Cuban is a pressed hoagie, so the white bun has grill marks on the top and bottom and it’s extra crispy on the outside. The bun felt a little firm inside as this process compresses the bread a bit.
Between the bun is slow roasted pork wrapped in smoked ham, topped with Swiss cheese, kosher pickles, and finished with mustard and jalapeno garlic aioli.
The slow roasted pork had that wholesome flavor that reminds me of grandma’s house, and there was lots of it. It was broken up into smallish pieces, and wrapped in thin slices ham. The taste of the pork was prevalent but the smoky ham flavor still came through. The Kosher pickles added a nice tang to the sandwich to offset the Swiss cheese. The jalapeno garlic aioli, which is another type of mustard, had a little spice but not too much, and sort of unified the rest of the ingredients.
The fries were crunchy on the outside, steamy and soft inside. The Cajun spice added a little heat and a lot of flavor. Well worth the up charge.
This was a good sandwich. It left me feeling satisfied but not weighed down so I left feeling ready to tackle the rest of my day. My bill came in at $14, and I’d order it again.
The staff was friendly and the spot was nice and clean. I recommend WOW. It’s family friendly place that sells alcohol and focuses on good food and wholesome fun.
Wausau on the Water
1300 N. River Dr., Wausau
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sundays
11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday
Happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed on Mondays