Art, wine and food

The Dalys opened their new restaurant last week and it’s a work of art, literally


As owners of Basil, the popular Thai-fusion restaurant in Weston, Tee and Jim Daly have lots of fans. It’s not surprising that word about them opening a second restaurant, in downtown Wausau, created a huge buzz. And when Daly’s opened last week, crowds gathered inside the new restaurant and wine bar, in the space that once housed the ill-fated and short-lived Crostini Bar.


It took the Dalys about six weeks after taking over the space to transform it into a work of art. Perhaps the most eye-catching change is a mural on the wall preceding the bar area. Painted by Wausau artist Stephanie Kohli, the image of two facial profiles impresses patrons for its size, stunning colors, and textured surface.

That’s not the only art. Several of David Hummer’s paintings grace the walls of the pastel colored, stylish space. Jim says he and Tee wanted two distinct spaces: one with a lighter tone for dining, and a darker theme for the wine bar area.

That’s an important distinction that Daly’s will have compared to Basil. Whereas Basil is a restaurant with a bar, Daly’s is a bar with a restaurant, Jim Daly says.

That’s meant to appeal to young professionals, and Daly’s will likely draw a younger crowd than Basil, Jim says. The wine bar first quietly opened Oct. 23. The restaurant side launched with a small menu and will gradually add more choices. So far they’re offering paninis, charcuterie trays with cheese, and salads.

The equipment to build out a full kitchen menu arrives this week, Jim says, and they’ll slowly roll out their full menu, which will feature a combination of tapas-style small plate items and regular large plate entrées.

Daly’s already offers a solid craft beer selection, with a mix of local beer such as Bull Falls and outside craft brewers such as Surly and Boulder. Whereas Basil carries a selection of nearly 50 scotches, Daly’s will focus on bourbon, Jim says.

Daly’s eventually will add to the live music scene too, with mostly jazz and blues, and other bands leaning toward mellower sounds appropriate for a wine bar.

The wine bar could have an even more direct connection to art. The Dalys are working with Hummer—whose artwork for many years was displayed at Basil—to turn the restaurant into a pre-gallery show for the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art. The idea is Hummer, WMOCA’s founder and executive director, could hang some art from upcoming exhibits in advance of the official gallery opening at the museum.