Business Dinners in the Inner Harbor
I'm putting together a meeting in Baltimore this November and I need to select two restaurants for dinners on two consecutive nights. One will be for 25 people and the next night for 40-50 people. We're going to be staying at the Pier 5 hotel in the Inner Harbor and would prefer to stay within walking distance. Keeping the costs to about $100 per person (including wine...not a lot of wine, but some wine) is ideal. I'd prefer to give the diners some choices for each course and would look to have a 3 course meal with some shared starters.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Maybe you have already made your arrangements, but I agree with bordeauxfan about Fogo de Chao. You won't regret setting up a dinner there, even though it is not yet open - it opens in August. (As long as your adventurous diners are not vegetarian.)
Excellent wines, service, and best of all, you start eating as soon as you sit down. I've been a number of times to the Fogo restaurant in DC and once to Philly; my daughter always goes to Fogo whenever she is in Dallas. Yes, it's a chain, but there are only 8 of them in the whole US - 9 when the one @ the Inner Harbor opens. www.fogodechao.com
I say all this knowing full well that Baltimore is a seafood town. You can always go down to Fell's Point for steamed shrimp if you want an authentic Baltimore experience or to Obrycki's for crabs --though IMO crabs and "business diners" are not in the same category - unless your people already know how to attack a crab, hard shells can be frustrating . (I agree with the Phillips comment too, avoid it.)
Around your hotel there are plenty of large (chain) restaurants who are familiar with hosting business dinners and would be welcome your business. Depending on whether you want upscale dinning (cuisine) or perhaps a more palatable and menu friendly expereince will depend on your clientele, but i can offer the following suggestions:
All the big chains:
Roys (Hawaiian Fusion) has a $30 fixed menu w/ choice of two entrees - this on their reg menu, i am sure they have a business dinner/catering menu
McCormick and Schmicks (Seafood)
PF Changs etc...
Obrycki's for the Crab experience - Fells Point, East of the hotel and a $5 cab ride
Bo Brooks for a more upscale (water views, less kids) but still 'authentic' crab experience - again, a short cab ride to Canton or take the water taxi
Rusty Scupper - Seafood on the harbor (you pay for the view)
Chiapperelli's - in Little Italy (walking distance) is old school Italian food seems to always be hosting rehersal or business dinners
Your response is helpful, thank you so much. I think I should clarify a bit. In terms of chains..I think Roy's might be a good option simply because its rather unique but I'd tend to want to avoid the other large chains....I'm not sure that I can (especially for the 40-50 dinner) but I'd prefer to. The folks that comprise the group that will attend the meeting are, on the whole (and especially for a group) rather impressively adventurous in terms of food. They enjoy the meals and actually pay some attention to the food which is rare for business dinners in my experience. I'll definitely look into the local suggestions you gave.
Well in that case...there are plenty of local restaurants who especially during the week would be grateful I suspect for not only the business but the exposure to such a large and diverse group. Some other places to consider;
NasuBlanca (Japanese and Spanish fusion; concept not so much food on the plate) in Locust Point so you can't walk but water taxi or cab
Robert Oliver's Seafood in Mount Vernon, opposite the Meyerhoff Symphony (short cab)
Lebanese Taverna has opened up right there near Pier 5 hotel
Pazo is also within walking distance but it really is too loud to converse and is tapas which with a large group can be problematic
The whole of Harbour East (as it is known) is in full-development, who knows what will have opened by November? So i would stay tuned.