A downtown Wausau storefront has been causing quite a buzz around our area. The sign advertised a new restaurant called "Lobster Garden" -- a combination of two popular chain restaurants. But that's not exactly what it's going to be.
The sign for Lobster Garden was up all weekend -- until Monday afternoon.
"My wife walked by it and said there's a lobster deal coming into town," said Ernest Herbert Gatzow, who lives in Wausau. "I said great. That's my favorite place to be. I just love my lobster a lot."
The sign was for a supposedly new restaurant on Wausau's 400 block. By the looks of it -- a combination between Olive Garden and Red Lobster. It got people talking, but the owner said it was just a joke.
"We thought combining the two would into some sort of synergy restaurant would be a great publicity stunt to bring awareness to the new space that our current bar and restaurant is going to be expanding into," said Tyler Vogt, who owns the new restaurant.
But not everybody is laughing.
"I don't think it's funny at all," said Mary Duranceau, who lives in Wausau. "I think this was the wrong way to go about it. There are better ways. Just be straightforward with it."
The sign featured a link to a website, saying Durden Restaurants would be combining its two famous brands into one. It even had its own Facebook page.
The two restaurants (Olive Garden and Red Lobster) are owned by the same company. But that company is actually called Darden -- not Durden. And there were more hints this was all a hoax.
"On the sign the word "restaurant" is spelled wrong and so that kind of alone says you wouldn't make a big sign for your brand new opening restaurant, especially if it was a corporation and spell the word restaurant wrong," said Collin Bruner, who lives in Rib Mountain.
But the owner said that was the point -- doing something to get people talking.
"We timed it out with the Exhibitour weekend so we had a lot of foot traffic, a lot of people downtown and the idea was just to get people thinking about a new restaurant coming into downtown," said Vogt.
Newsline9 contacted the real owners of Red Lobster and Olive Garden. They said they're not laughing at the joke either. They're looking into what to do about it.
Meantime Vogt said he still plans to open the new restaurant next month -- but obviously under a different name.