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Dallas Rehearsal Dinner Help Needed

Despite living in Dallas for 16 years and eating out on a regular basis, I'm absolutely stumped for options on where to have a rehearsal dinner for my wedding in October. We're estimating around 30 people and we'd like to keep the budget around $20-$30 per person (alcohol included). The catch is that we're looking for a private room - and it seems few, if any, restaurants offer that option. Furthermore, we need to keep it within a 10-15 minute drive from downtown as that's where the wedding is being held.

Since we've got several out of towners alongside some children, we were thinking Tex-Mex may be a good option (i.e. represents Texas cuisine well, fun for kids, Margaritas are fun for adults etc.). We've already looked into places like Manny's Uptown and Mi Cocina and neither offer any privacy (though they fit the bill perfectly in all other areas - slightly upscale environments with affordable and readily approachable cuisine).

Barbeque is the other obvious option, but we don't want it catered and most BBQ joints have zero ambience.

Barring Maggiano's (I'd rather go hungry) Italian food would be fine - heck at this rate, ANY cuisine would be fine.

Can you please help a desperate fellow 'Hound out?

Thanks!

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  1. How about the outdoor, covered patio at Sammy's? I know you can rent the entire outdoor area, because I have been to several functions there.

    P.S. By the way, in suggesting Sammy's, I assumed you were not totally against BBQ, just against BBQ that was either catered or at a restaurant that had no ambience.

    1. Mattitos sounds like what you may be looking for. Good food, private rooms, close to your price range, close to downtown.

      http://www.mattitos.com/banquets.htm#...

      1. Javier's has a private room - been to a rehearsal dinner there that was loads of fun, and the food wasn't bad, either.

        Have you checked Matt's in Lakewood? Seems like that upstairs space would be suitable.

        You could always do something like book a rental space, such as Belo Mansion, and cater in from Blue Mesa.

        1. Thanks everyone for your ideas. I'll look into them and see what they offer.

          1 Reply
          1. re: skedhead2000

            We had our rehearsel dinner at Sammys and, believe it or not, it won't be that easy to keep it in your price range. By the time you pay the site rental and the per head, it is right at $18-$20 before drinks. Javier's, no chance you can keep it in your price range. Mattito's might be a very good option. I would also check into Bugatti's for Italian. Their outdoor patio is awesome and they will work with you on the budget. Zee, the owner, is one of the best restaurateurs in the business.

          2. This may sound crazy, but what about Louie's on Henderson? It's close to downtown, has excellent pizza and salad, and I imagine its other options are too bad. They have one room that could probably be used for a private party. Now I'm not saying your guests won't be concerned about the dodgy neighborhood, but I think a good time would be had by all.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jaimie

              I thought about Louie's too but the fiance nixed it. We're looking into Buca Di Beppo (across the street from North Park Mall). They offer deals by the room (our party has since expanded to 45 people) and they offer 4-5 course meals for about $25-$30 per head. Makes no sense - but I hate the food at Maggiano's (consistently awful - everything is either too bland or too sweet) and like several of the dishes at Buca (Margarita Pizza, Eggplant Parmigiana, Lemon Chicken are all really good . . . Chicken Marsala and Tiramisu are both pretty awful though). Wine is very fairly priced at Buca too . . . house Chianti is 3 litres (aka 22 glasses) for $64.95. Manager also said we'd be allowed to bring in portable microphones to make speeches (sounds cringe inducing to me but the better half is insistent).

              1. re: skedhead2000

                I actually had a nice birthday dinner for 25 at Daniele on Oak Lawn. They gave us a big chunk of the restaurant and were wonderful. Not a huge fan of Buca since TGIFridays took over.

            2. I had my rehearsal dinner at Texas Land & Cattle on Lemon and had a great time. This was several years ago, and I think it was $18 per person with a choice of three entrees (beef, chicken, or fish - I had the trout and it was really good). Our party wasn't big enough for a private room, but they screened off a nice area for us and we didn't have any problems. They have a number of rooms, so it's likely you could get a room. The food was good and the service was great. It was also nice to be able to get a cocktail.

              I will say that your figure of $20-30 including alcohol is probably a bit low unless everyone only has one drink. And, when we looked at Mattito's, they charged $35 pp without alcohol. That may have changed, but we were surprised at the quote we got.

              Matt's in Lakewood has a great patio. You probably wouldn't get the whole patio to yourselves, but some friends threw us a wedding shower there and it was great.

              I've been to a rehearsal dinner at Sammy's and it was a blast.

              1. The Garden Cafe in east Dallas does special events at night... you'd have the whole restaurant to yourself. It will be beautiful in October.

                1. How about Mattitos on Cedar Springs? A friend had her rehearsal dinner there and it was great. Private room, good band, food and drinks.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: newchowhound

                    Thanks for these suggestions . . . we're actually considering the Cedar Springs Mattitto's for brunch the "day after" thus it got nixed for the rehearsal dinner option.

                  2. Cool River Cafe in Las Colinas has Private rooms and it's a really nice place! www.coolrivercafe.com

                    1. We had our rehearsal dinner at Bucca by North Park and were very pleased with the food, service and room etc. Another place that we had considered and really liked was Bugatti's over by Bachman Lake-they have a nice private room and price is comparable to Bucca etc.

                      1. A couple of years ago, I attended a rehearsal dinner at Celebration, it was fantastic, and seems to fit what you're looking for.

                        1. I would highly recommend Avanti Fountainplace. A friend of mine had her rehearsal dinner there and it was wonderful. Great food and a nice atmosphere. It is located downtown. Enjoy your wedding day!