Food Network contest winners share experience - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Food Network contest winners share experience with their competition


Wausau is getting some national attention. An episode of "Food Court Wars" featuring the city's mall aired last night on the Food Network, and now the winners are hard at work.

But they're not the only ones.

In an unexpected twist, the winners decided to hire the team they beat to help them run their restaurant called Casual Joe's.

"We're all local. No preservatives," said owner Sarah Smith.

"I tried the brat...I got a beer cheese sauce with the caramelized onions. Where are you going to get caramelized onions in a mall?" said Wausau resident Fred Heider.

The restaurant's owners told us that's the goal--to offer fresh ingredients with a bit of flare.

The two won free rent for a year at the Wausau Center Mall as their prize on "Food Court Wars."

"It was totally worth it," said Smith.

She and co-owner Tyler Sailsbery beat a team from Wausau, but instead of taking a victory lap, they reached out to the other team for help.

"It's a happy ending for all of us actually.  They really need help and asked if I would be assistant manager for a while, and I was like 'It's more money than I was making,'" said Carlie Peterson. She competed with teammate Briana Shidell on the show. Even though the two lost, they said everything worked out in the end.

Now all four are serving up Wisconsin style comfort food. Think brats, macaroni and cheese and cheese curds.

They also have several barbecue options on the menu.

People in central Wisconsin said they're glad to have another restaurant option.

"I'm a downtown office worker, so I'll be here hopefully not daily, because it is cheese curds," said Heider.

Owners said they are also featuring some of Carlie & Company's products at the restaurant. They're already serving up several of their salad dressings.

To learn more about Casual Joe's, click here:

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