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big rehearsal dinner, casual tasty food

Be honest with me--is this possible? Where? We have racked our brains and our chowhound.com.

Rehearsal dinner for 100+ people. (Not for more than a year, but are thinking ahead for a variety of reasons.) Don't want to spend a huge amount of money--would rather be able to invite more people and be inclusive than get fancy food. Super casual, fun, quirky, comfortable atmosphere for people in their 20s, 50s, 80s. Accessible by T. Next night is big hotel formal wedding--want to balance it out and start the weekend by putting a smile on everyone's face. Restaurant or not, most preferably not a hotel.

In my dreams, we rent a pretty room that has a view of the Charles and skyline (where?) and cater with Tamarind Bay, served family style. But we can't do Indian because none of the parents like Indian. And I don't think I can submit to doing barbecue because I'm a vegetarian and would feel guilty about all the cows. No clambake--there are a number of moderately kosher people involved (no shellfish, no pork, no super-blatant milk and meat combos.) And the sister-in-law is seriously allergic to peanuts, so it can't be Thai food. And it goes on.

Ideas and experiences are welcome, of course, as is pointing out the elements we should compromise on so as to stay somewhere in the neighborhood of the vision.

Thanks so much.

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  1. The Museum of Science used to rent out the Skyline Room on the top floor for private parties. There were several approved caterers. Not sure what the arrangements are now but it sure fits your room requirements.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BBHound

      now it's apparently only their in-house wolfgang puck catering, which might be too fancy-shmancy looking and not enough with the tasty, but the view sounds great and i just sent them an e-mail. thank you.

    2. Unless I'm missing something I think all that you're left with is Italian. It's inexpensive, fun and you could get creative with the selections that would please everyone. Not a big fan of Maggiano's but something like that? Depending on the night I'm sure you could find find a Italian chef/restaurant owner who would be happy to cater offsight as well.

      1. OK, so a few out of the ordinary suggestions. Not necessarily in any particular order and none with the view you really want but here goes.

        1) A cruise on the harbor(not so great food but unique experience and T accessible)
        2) The Veronique Ballroom, Brookline, I believe. As far as I know you can bring your own caterer. Pretty room but a little dated.
        3)Massachusetts State House. Definitely can bring your own caterer and really unique.
        4)Museum of Fine Arts. Not sure of the caterer but their own food is delicious and could accomodate all.
        5) I know you said no to the hotel idea but we have had many wonderful experiences at the Doubletree Guest Suites on Soldiers Field Road. They can even provide kosher meals.

        You should try Gathering Guide.com they have a list of various venues.

        1. Thanks, everybody. You guys are awesome. I'm looking into the Museum of Science and the State House--both would be really neat venues, though I fear too expensive in the end. I think the Maggiano's type thing might be the only realistic option--but I do want to avoid a chain. Can anyone think offhand of a local Italian--or Chinese, i suppose--restaurant that can hold 100+ people and has somewhat delicious food? I'm think we're moving away from the renting a room idea because of added costs and logistics.

          1. I'd call up places like Peach Farm, Gourmet Seafood, Jumbo, New Shanghai, East Ocean City and Ocean Wealth in Chinatown to check if they can hold 100.