On Choosing A Twin Cities Restaurant Venue

When you’re chosing your venue, it can be a daunting task if you aren’t careful. Between the reception halls, parks, hotels and more, its easy to look over a natural alternative: Restaurants.

Now, it depends on your wedding party size. If you’re expecting 500, there are only a few restaurants than can handle your group. But if you’re expecting somewhere between 100 and 200, you’ve got some solid options. If you go smaller, you are in even better shape.

For tiny receptions, I’d suggest W.A. Frost or Forepaugh’s — they’re historical and beautiful. Pazzaluna is a great space in Saint Paul, its a bit more contemporary, but the food is fab! If money isn’t an issue, I’d go to the Saint Paul Grill for amazing, delicious food.

Degidio’s in St. Paul has a great deal $14.95/person for food, soda, coffee and tea with NO HIDDEN FEES, taxes are included. That’s refreshing. However, they don’t do kegs, so liquor could get expensive. But they have a reception hall that doesn’t charge a rental fee, allows you to decorate, looks decent and has built in speakers. This place is located on West 7th, about 3/4 mile from the Xcel. This place is actually one of our choices, but we haven’t made a final decision yet.

If you want to go Old-School Rat Pack style, go to Mancini’s. Its a bit different now that the space isn’t clouded by immense quantities of cigarette smoke, but its a gem of a historical joint, and they have plenty of space for your large party. This is perfect for a retro offbeat bride.

Maggiano’s in Edina (perk, lots of available parking) has space for up to 250 people and lots of options for appetizers, buffet, family-style meals — but I’d worry that my guests would duck out and go shopping!

Downtown Minneapolis has some great spots.

Chamber’s has some sleek spaces to rent, but they are technically in a hotel (but it is swanky!), as long as you have fewer than 100 people.

Kieran’s Irish Pub has space for 150-200 for a cocktail/ appetizer reception. If your GTB is wearing a kilt, I’d highly suggest it 😉

Brits Pub and The Local also have spaces for rent — and cool, hip environments.

Check out The Times (NE Mpls) for an under-40 people event or The Newsroom for a big (over 125) event.

Solera has some amazing spaces for rent. The second floor can hold over 200 people — for a cocktail/appetizer reception and includes a beautiful deck! The rental fee is far less than a grand. You can put together your own menu, and I believe they allow keg beer if you rent a kegerator (awesome for cutting a few liquor cost corners). Their third floor holds far more people for a plated or family-style (or buffet) dinner. Both rooms are beautiful, colorful and reflect Spanish themes with terracotta orange, saffron yellow and a leafy green. (Can you guess that this is another one of our finalists). The only issue I have is parking. If you have the funds, you can pre-pay for valet for your guests. I don’t, so my poor guests will have to pay or ramp their car.

Don’t forget about Uptown’s fun gem: Stella’s Fish Cafe — their banquet facilities are beautiful and the food (oysters especially) is pretty darned good.

Anyway, when choosing restaurants, I’d start looking into restaurants you know you like… some may surprise you and have banquet facilities.

Check out an area you’d consider and just start calling/emailing restaurants. If they don’t get back to you, chances are good that they don’t have a reception center, or inattentive managers, both are bad.

If you’re looking online, look for “banquets” or “events” on the site.

I hear Old Country Buffet has space for 400… but we won’t be looking there 🙂

If I forgot any great restaurant venues, let me know!

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