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Apr 24, 2007 12:38 PM

Graduation Party for 8th graders. Someplace other than Hong Kong East

One of the room parents has made a rez. for the Chinese banquet here in mid-June. It's $45 per kid. There will be 34 of them. I'd love to find an alternative. While the view is nice, I really don't think the kids would enjoy a big sit-down Chinese banquet. It's pricey, too.

Last year we rented the space above Epicurious Gardens for several hours one evening. There was room for tables, dancing, and a nice outdoor deck for kids who wanted to get away from the music to talk and sign yearbooks. The only problem was that the food was some rather nasty Chinese take out. If I can persuade the room parents to rent the space again, can anyone recommend good, not-to-expensive take out from a fairly nearby restaurant? Doesn't need to be Chinese, but not pizza, either.

On the other hand, if anyone can think of a different restaurant or a space for rent in or near Berkeley that could handle that many kids and be safe and fun, I would be very grateful. Room for dancing would be great, too. Parking isn't an issue, since the kids will be dropped off. Thanks!

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  1. How about the Thai place down the street? Cha Am, I think. Even if they don't usually do delivery I bet the would for an order that large and that close.

    I suspect that $45/pp Chinese banquet is a rip off. Most Chinese banquet menus start at less than half that, and the more expensive ones usually have a lot of fancy seafood that the kids probably wouldn't like anyway.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I thought it was a rip off. Thanks for confirming that.

    2. Bettes Oceanview Diner and Cafe de la Paz both have spaces that can handle 34. Not sure about the pricing, but IIRC it is not prohibitive. The food is not phenomenal, but it's not bad either.

      If you go with Epicurious Gardens, you've got Gregoire just down the street which now has a full catering operation. The menu is a bit different from the monthly menu and Gregoire will be happy to work with any concerns or dietary restrictions.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        Thanks. I'm looking into Bette's, having a menu faxed. It's $50 a person, which may be too much, but I bet the kids would prefer the food and the place seems fun. The price normally includes wine and beer, but obviously we don't want that. Any cheaper ideas out there?

        1. re: Glencora

          If you're considering Bette's, you might consider Pyramid Ale House. Yes it's brew pub there's a nice open private room in the front and they're kid friendly, Kemper soda, chicken wings, fish and chip, burgers. I'd have to imagine it would be less then $50 p/person. Not as fun as Bette's but it's not as weird as it sounds.

      2. Just a thought, we had an 8th grade graduation party at Yet Wah in Diamond Heights in San Francisco last June and it was a blast. Cocktails for parents, Good and cheap Chinese food and the kids did Karaoke all afternoon. I realize it's not Berkeley, but try for a similar place there that has Karaoke at night and book the afternoon (won't affect their regular biz) and the kids will have a ball. Ours still talk about it, some of the Moms and Dads humilitated themselves (OK, myself) as well !!! And its all on film, too.

        1. I held my 26th birthday party at the Templebar in Berkeley

          I fell in love with the cozy, tiki decor and the yummy Hawaiian mixed drinks; but mainly, I choose the place because it was extremely affordable to rent out for a party of up to 70 people AND they have a full liquor license (not that 8th graders drink.. I'd hope not!


          I had some peculiar special requests upon renting the Templebar for the night: I wanted a potluck, to play my own iPod music, to use the stage and PA system to announce games, to play a background DVD on the large plasma TV screen, and to reorganize the tables and chairs for group games. All requests were accommodated. However, we couldn't bring in our own drinks or water because restaurants with liquor licenses cannot allow that. That was fine.. we bought pitchers of soda and beer for everyone, and each person paid for their own Hawaiian mixed drinks and Jack&7-ups.

          In addition, there's lots of parking, the bathrooms are clean, the lights are dimmable to change the mood for dancing. The owners are also very sweet and accomodating. The place makes for a very memorable party.

          See pix:


          4 Replies
          1. re: Sophia C.

            This looks perfect. I bet the kids would like the apps. (Spring rolls, mini-burgers...) And I know they'd love the room. I've driven past the place hundreds of times, but have never gone in. I hope the other parents will agree and not consider it too "edgy."

            1. re: Sophia C.

              Wow, I just got the bid from Templebar and it's less than $30 a person. The buffet (Veg. lumpia, charbroiled chicken sticks, tofu vegetable sticks, potato macaroni salad (?), tossed green salad and steamed rice) sounds a bit...hmmm. But we'll add some other things and at least it has veg. options for the inevitable 14 year old vegetarians. The price includes soda and clean up afterwards. The kids can bring their music and dance.... I'm really happy that I talked the parents into it. Thanks SO much.

              1. re: Glencora

                sounds like a good deal. Please do report back, as I've always been curious about Templebar and would love to see more reports.

                potato macaroni salad, which is basically what it sounds like, ie a hybrid of the two, is fairly common in Hawaii. Tends to have more macaroni than potato is most versions.


                1. re: Glencora

                  Glencora, let me just say that you are one cool mom! The teens are lucky to have you on their side :) I'm glad to hear that the Templebar worked out!

                  btw, in addition to the Templebar buffet, are you catering in outside food? If so, where do you plan to cater from?

              2. One other thing we did was get an Alice Cooper CD online that had the song School's Out on it and the kids played that about 1,000 times over the PA. More hilarity !

                That could apply at graduation from any level .............