Review: Wausau on Water (W.O.W)

Arcade+room+in+Wausau+on+Water+%28W.O.W%29
Arcade room in Wausau on Water (W.O.W)

Arcade room in Wausau on Water (W.O.W)

Arcade room in Wausau on Water (W.O.W)

Yingyee Xiong and Hnub Xiong, Reporter

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Wausau on the Water or W.O.W Family Entertainment Center opened on Dec. 29, 2016. W.O.W is a riverfront restaurant less than 20 feet away from the Wisconsin River.  The entertainment center includes a laser arena, arcade, sports bar, and restaurant.

“W.O.W is a safe and family fun environment with a beautiful view of the water,” said Evan Greenwood, one of the managers of W.O.W. “There is more dimension to the whole experience of a restaurant, laser tag arena, and an arcade.”

The waterfront area in Wausau was an underutilized section in the city. The waterfront had been an underused and underappreciated section, and there was a chance to seize it, said Greenwood.

The idea of W.O.W started with Evan and his father, Bill Greenwood.

A variety of games in the arcade.

A variety of games in the arcade.

“We wanted to do something because we heard that they were redeveloping this area,” said Greenwood.

“My dad and I thought about what Wausau would really need and what was something the whole family could enjoy. It took its own shape after that and we just rolled with it.”  

It took 72 months to plan the entertainment center, planning every detail of what would be in the building from the details of how the light switches would turn on to the placement of tables and chairs in the restaurant.

“We thought of just doing a bar and a restaurant at first and then we started thinking outside the box,” Greenwood said. “There’s a lot of bars and restaurants around town, so what is something that Wausau really needs?”

Game prizes in W.O.W

Game prizes in W.O.W

To start building the entertainment center, Greenwood and his father started asking people in the entertainment industry about things they needed to know, and learning how to hold an entertainment center.

“Everyone in the family entertainment industry is very friendly and very willingly and able to give good advice to help you in any way they can,” said Greenwood. “It’s very rewarding in that sense, and we made good friends.”

The City of Wausau also assisted in the making of W.O.W by funding affordable financing and helping the Greenwoods understand their role in the development of W.O.W. The City of Wausau guided W.O.W to where it is now.

“Especially on small business owners, it’s really tough and it’s a lot of planning,” said Greenwood, “but it’s very rewarding in the end and it’s worth the work.”

W.O.W’s menu includes sandwiches, cheese curds, pasta, french fries, and much more from local cheese businesses, meat markets, and bakeries.

In the spring, W.O.W will be expanding it is business plans to have a patio and two outdoor fireplaces on the riverwalk to seat around 100 people. Customers will be able to sit and enjoy their lunch or drink on the river.

“I want to see a reaction of surprises from people who walk into Wausau on the Water,” Greenwood said. “I want people to come here to get a better quality of food, entertainment, and service they wouldn’t expect from somewhere that’s kind of like an arcade.”

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