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Feeding Forty Undergrads - A Challenge

In a few weeks the SO has the challenge of taking forty newly arrived residence students for dinner on their first night away from home. She needs to pick a place that is accomodating of unadventuresome eaters with a variety of tastes, where a number of the mains run from $10 to $17, which can accomodate forty people, and which is within about twenty minutes walking distance from St. George and Harbord.

In the past groups have gone to some, shall we say, uninspired places: Pickle Barrel, Mr. Green Jeans, etc. One suggestion was Hemingway's, which can also be a bit spotty. Any ideas folks? I trust that if there exists a place that meets these criterias, you guys will know it...

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  1. The Madison Pub. Might as well introduce them to the place early! It's just pub food and not really inspired, but it's appropriate and fun for undergrads.

    1. If they are just entering university, they're all underage so perhaps a delay in pub introductions! If you make a reservation, you can probably get the upstairs area at Spring Rolls on Yonge St (S. of Bloor). I think they can fit 40.. It's not bad for people with a variety of tastes, and on the cheaper end of the scale. Unfortunately most larger places in the area are going to be chains.

      1. What about organizing a BBQ in the courtyard at Hart House? We had one during Frosh Week (granted this was *several* years ago) - food was pretty good from what I remember and there was also space to eat indoors. It was nice because everyone could mingle around and you weren't restricted to conversation with the 3 people you happened to be sitting closest to.

        Alternatively, and I really hate to suggest this, there's always Springrolls. I also think the Maddy is a good idea.

        3 Replies
        1. re: caddie

          I had forgot to mention Springrolls, which is where we went when I was in first year... I guess because I haven't been there much since. They have two other BBQs during the week (and those are definitely the most fun). It is sort of a tradition to go out for dinner. I haven't been there in a long time, but can anyone comment on the Red Room? As I remember, it was dirt cheap and surprisingly competent - is that true?

          1. re: markdsgraham

            What about Supermarket? Big space, so they could probably accommodate the numbers, interesting-ish menu, inexpensive, and a not-bad vibe.

            Although jinxed is absolutely correct on pointing out that many/most undergrads are now 17-18 and under the legal drinking age... so I dunno if Supermarket is too much of a bar?

            I do like the Maddy. I detest the Red Room.... I can't actually remember why people in my department stopped going there, but it has a reputation for being pretty icky.

            1. re: markdsgraham

              Red Room is indeed dirt cheap, though I would classify the food as "merely edible".

              The service is best described as zen apathy, and might work best if you're an aimless college student with no set schedule and plenty of time to meditate upon the meaning of life and the existence of god through the vessels of slow-as-molasses servers.

              Good for lazy Sunday afternoons that have no set schedule, but definitely not the place to take 40 hungry undergrads - they just can't cope with that.

          2. How about Obie's on Bloor? I think the food is decent there, and it will definitely accomodate a large group.

            1. we're talking first year undergrads right? these kids are usually 17 and 18 these days.. there is no way they're getting into the maddy unless they're already flashing fake ids and i doubt markdsgraham is supposed to be supporting that.

              my one and only experience at the redroom has sworn me off it forever, but perhaps ordering the chinese noodles and having a chinese background was the mistake. it is, however, notably still a pretty common UofT hangout that they could be introduced to.

              spring rolls isn't a bad idea, although i'd probably opt for east! on queen west instead. along the walk south they can pass by baldwin street and your SO can point out this little fun area. i can't think of a single restaurant that would be able to easily accommodate such a large group, but in the long run they might be thankful for knowing about. they can always walk back up on spadina ave to check out chinatown.

              2 Replies
                1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                  if spring rolls is an option then you might as well consider east... especially since they're the SAME thing.