Entrepreneurship New Restaurants Food+Drink

Test Drive the Good Wives: Good Wives Restaurant Now Open

new eatery makes a successful splash during soft opening

Sawyer Hoff, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

GOOD FOOD, GOOD WIVES. The Good Wives goal is to bring good food and a nice time to Eau Claire's food scene. (Pictured is the Chicken Paprikash)
GOOD FOOD, GOOD WIVES. The Good Wives' goal is to bring good food and a warm atmosphere to Eau Claire's food scene.

Since last talking to Ella Wesenberg and Emily (Ema) Rieck in June, their new fine-dining establishment, The Good Wives, has launched with a successful soft opening at the beginning of November. 

The first few days of the soft opening were kept a bit under wraps, allowing the eatery to serve close friends and family and letting new employees get used to the system without feeling too overwhelmed. After announcing the opening on their social media, the community began dining there, and so far the couple have only heard positive things.

Head Chef and Owner, Ella Wesenberg, pictured above.
Head chef and co-owner Ella Wesenberg.

“The best part has been seeing those people that have just come across us, either by walking past us or they saw our sign recently,” Ema said. “They kind of just wander in and see this look on their face that is like, wonder and a little confusion. Then, it’s excitement, and then confusion again,” she laughed. “That has been really delightful.”

Some favorites from the opening week’s menu were the Smoked Ham Hock, Wilted Spinach, Gravlox, Sea Bass, and Steak Medallions, though the menu is already changing. It will continue to do so, depending on Ella’s vision.

“The whole idea is that we want to keep moving,” said Ellas, who was formerly head chef at The Informalist. “We want to keep it fresh and try new things and see what sticks and what doesn’t. Just keeping that creativity flowing.”

Patrons have not only been raving about their food options but also the atmosphere at the restaurant (2161 Eastridge Center, Eau Claire). With a predominately green color scheme, there are also some hidden decor gems that make The Good Wives special, including a mural painted on the back wall by local artist Aidan Kraus, the specially-crafted bar by Ross Nordquist, and a giant king crab hanging on the wall, which was caught by Ema’s grandparents in the 1960s (his name is Claude).

Wine pairing are a main focus at The Good Wives (Owner, Emily
Wine pairings are a main focus at The Good Wives. Co-owner Emily Rieck is pictured at the bar, with Claude the Crab in the background.

The aesthetic of the restaurant, Ema said, is meant to feel like a home away from home for the couple. They also want to create a community where patrons feel comfortable chatting with each other and the rest of the staff. Since they are still a newly opened establishment, they ask that people continue to show kindness and patience towards all staff. 

“We’re not trying to take ourselves too seriously,” Ema said. “But we are trying to offer some delicious, serious food and wine.”

Petite Tender Steak Medallions pictured.
Petite Tender Steak Medallions.

The Good Wives’ hours are 5-9pm Tuesday-Thursday, 5-10pm Friday-Saturday, and brunch is available from 9am-2pm on Saturday and Sunday. Make reservations at (715) 514-0401 and see the menu at thegoodwivesrestaurant.com.

Rabbit Ragout
Rabbit Ragout