Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing christina@wausaupilotandreview.com.

This week’s featured Wausau business is a decades-long tradition for delicious, authentic Mexican food, not to mention a wide variety of American favorites. Chico’s Restaurant, 235415 Chico Road, is just off Hwy. 52 east of Wausau. Since 1979, the restaurant has been a mainstay for casual dining in a comfortable, colorful space. The Chico’s building itself has a long history, first as a general store in the 1900s, then a cheese factory and finally a restaurant in 1928. Chico’s Restaurant launched in 1979 but has been owned since 1983 by Heidi Edelburg, who was first a waitress at the eatery before learning to bartend and eventually taking the reins.

Edelberg said she immediately loved Chico’s when she joined the staff and enjoyed the friendliness of the people she met. The community that makes up the regular staff and patrons is close knit, but fun and welcoming to all. Chico’s, which underwent a major remodel in 2018, offers food for dine-in or takeout, and all dishes are made from scratch – with pride. With three children and six grandchildren, Edelberg said she has had a long and satisfying career – even though she is looking forward to retirement in the future.

Be sure to stop in from Nov. 18 through Nov. 27 for the Hunters and Hunters Widow Specials: 20 oz. Porterhouse for $32.99, 12 oz. Ribeye for $27.99, 8 oz. Tenderloin for $26.99 and, for the lighter appetite, a 5 oz. Tenderloin for $15.99.

Here, Heidi shares the most rewarding things about being in the business, her secret to success and her recommendations for the dishes you absolutely must try the next time you visit.

Scroll here for photos:

Your restaurant is famous for its incredible Mexican food. What are the most popular dishes on the menu?

The most popular dishes on the menu are our delicious chimchangas, along with our pollo pasta, steaks, jalapeno tacos and homemade French onion soup. You can’t go wrong with any of these options, and our cook has been with Chico’s for years – you’ll always get a fantastic meal no matter what you choose.

Where do you find your inspiration for the dishes you serve?

I look everywhere for inspiration! For one thing, I watch a lot of cooking shows and then do a lot of experimentation to find the best possible combination. My dishes are my own recipes.

What do you want people to feel when they walk through the door?

I want them to feel welcome and comfortable. This is a casual atmosphere with plenty of friendly faces.

Recently you’ve been working with other area establishments such as Sunrise and Homestead. How did that come about – and how is that working out?

All of us who own and operate establishments in this area know we are in this together. I share their Facebook pages and helped organize a couple of events, like the 4-Wheeler Run and the 52 Bar Blast, which encouraged patrons to stop at DaBar, Corral, Sunrise, Homestead and Jamar’s as well as Chico’s. It’s important that we work together.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a part of this industry?

The people! I love the people I’ve met along the way, from staff to customers. It’s like a big family.

What is your secret to your continued popularity and success?

We love our customers and we try to always do our best to serve them. I also credit our fresh new dishes and drinks as well as our customer favorites that bring people back again and again.

Connect with Chico’s

  • Chico’s Restaurant, located 2.8 miles northeast of Wausau off Hwy. 52
  • Address: 235415 Chico Road, Wausau
  • Phone: 715-842-9851
  • Open for dine-in or takeout
  • On Facebook here