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Banquet places in the OC area for a medium sized office? What, people eat out there?

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Hey all, I was referenced to this by someone from the OC community in LJ, so I figured I would give this a shot;

I got hoodwinked into setting up the holiday party this year. Lucky me, huh? Yeah well, I did my fair amount of event setup in College, both small and large scale.

i.e. groups of <20 to groups of >500.

That being said, I have no freaking clue on how to serve a group of about 55. See, our office is only about 20 or so people, but some of them have significant others, a few more have kids... Hey, we're looking at over 50!

SO, with that in mind, I'm looking for a place that can handle that many people, has GREAT food (Last years was at El-Torito grill, and it was loud, the food was alright, but all in all, it wasn't a spectacular success. People got especially hammared, my guess to forget about the dining experiance, and when you have people running full bore into parked cars, well... that's another story), and won't kill our company profits for the quarter (i.e. something around 25-40 a head)

As per location, anything west of the 5 and south of Huntington Beach, North of Laguna. We do have people that will (inevitably) open up tabs, and the less driving that will be had, the more people can carpool, and the more people can go head to head with parked Ford Explorers in a less-than-lethal variety (Incidently, I work at an engineering company, and we design car parts. So they sort of know what they're doing when they're playing Toro y Matador with parked cars. At least I hope they do. The engineers, they sure went through a lot of school, and it would be sad to see them reduced to being in Sales after one holiday party...)

Any help that anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated, and I thank you all in advance!

Cheers!

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  1. Just putting this suggestion out there. Haven't tried it, don't know how much it costs. But they do banquets especially. Located where the 55 ends at Newport Beach/Costa Mesa.

    Turnip Rose
    http://www.turniprose.com/

    I'd also like to put in a vote for Catal. They do banquets also, and will work with you to what you want to serve to limit the budget.

    http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

    1. Having planned many a holiday gathering for my own OC company-- I feel your pain. Given your geo and budget parameters, I suggest:

      Salt Creek Grill in so. Laguna Beach (Dana Pont, technically)

      Cedar Creek Inn (SJCapo)

      Bistango in Irvine might be just beyond your budget, but it is crowd pleaser with a great private room.

      Ling & Louie's in the Irvine Spectrum

      I predict your biggest difficulty will be booking a date that is desirable if you want a Fri/Sat before 2007. I ran into that even in economically slow years-- and I was only entertaining 20 or less. Get busy and good luck!