What’s Good? The Good Wives: New Restaurant Looking to Open in August
former Informalist head chef Ella Wesenberg is opening a new restaurant in E.C. with her wife, Emily
“I suppose it’s an amalgamation of this idea we created together that we’ve been talking about since we’ve been married,” said Emily Rieck. “We’re just trying to make something really simple and nice and good.”
“And a touch gay,” her wife Ella chimed in.
The Good Wives restaurant has been a dream of the couple since 2015, but they found that finding the right time to open it would be the hardest part. Ella Wesenberg has been a chef for 20 years; her most recent local work was serving as head chef at the Informalist in downtown Eau Claire, but she has also worked in – and helped create – numerous restaurants in the Minneapolis area.
The couple lived in Bangkok, Thailand, for a year, and it was then that they finally started nailing down plans for a restaurant: the soon-to-be local eatery The Good Wives. When they returned back to the States, they started to look for places to set up shop right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Their plans for the restaurant had to be put on hold for a few years until one day Emily was driving around and found a space they believed would work great for them.
Wesenberg said that one of the main reasons she wanted to start her own restaurant was to be able to shift her menu to include whatever is in season.
“We really wanted something where Ella can change the menu when she gets new inspiration,” Emily said. “I can go print a menu and change things whenever.”
Their menu is going to be very wine-focused with lots of pairing options as well as plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Ella plans to have lots of handmade pasta on the menu, plus locally sourced meats and other ingredients.
They are now renovating their new space in Eau Claire’s Eastridge Center, in the space that used to be Noodle Teahouse. While the couple are hoping to have the restaurant ready to open in August, that will depend on renovations going smoothly. They currently have a GoFundMe for start-up costs and for the community to have a hand in this project. The GoFundMe page describes the Good Wives as a small farm-to-table restaurant where patrons can come on a date night for small plates and good wine.
The duo already has several plans for renovating the space, including creating a mural on one of the walls, a bar with sculpted elements, and reusing and reupholstering the existing booths. They believe in reusing things, so they plan on incorporating a lot of elements already in the space.
To help fund The Good Wives Restaurant, you can go to gofundme.com/f/thegoodwives.