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Center City Wedding...Farmacia

My fiancee and I would like to get married at a restaurant in Center City Phila but can't seem to find the right place. We expect about 85 guests and want a sit down meal and an area for dancing. I talked to the manager at Farmacia and it sounds like it could fit the bill but I'm worried they won't be in business next spring. They never seem busy enough for dinner. Any thoughts? I'm also going to check out Twenty21 tomorrow.

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  1. Seems like Farmicia has been around for a while...just wondering if there aren't a few nicer places - in particular, I am thinking service that is nice enough for your wedding. I am going to think about it...what are the main criteria - space? budget?

    15 Replies
    1. re: rgfoodie

      Farmicia has been around a while and they are affiliated with Metropolitan so they should be there. But given the service and the food there on our one visit, there are much better options. I know Estia is very expensive but can handle crowds of that size, as could a bunch of other places.

      1. re: bluehensfan

        I took a look at Estia online. It did not look like there would be space for dancing. Maybe I'm wrong about that. My other concern was the food. I love greek/med cuisine but I have many guests coming from Central PA. No stereotyping as that's where I grew up but I want to make sure the menu is appealing to everyone. Would love to hear any other ideas you might have on the subject!

        1. re: jenn19106

          What would people in Central PA like? I'm not sure what kind of cuisine might be best. Farmicia is veggie friendly, earthly kind of food. If they don't like greek they may not like that either.

          1. re: jenn19106

            I have eaten at Estia a number of times and they have great seafood and even the chicken there is pretty good. I dunno about dancing though. You could (don't laugh!) even rent out the Reading Terminal Market for a unique occasion and use the center court for dancing. I do know it has been done... http://www.rtm-catering.com/events.html

        2. re: rgfoodie

          Main criteria is big enough space for dinner AND dancing, and of course, overall ambience. Farmacia has been very accommodating in our initial discussions, and their $ minimum to close the restaurant on a Sat evening was the lowest I've seen (only $6k!) My budget for food/bev is $15k. Of course, I would love to come in under budget. Appreciate your thoughts/ideas on this...

          1. re: jenn19106

            Sounds like your are pretty set on your choice but since you asked for input...
            http://www.pennslandingcaterers.com/a...

            We have had several functions there and were very pleased. They have function space and do the catering in house.

            1. re: joluvscards

              Nope...I'm still open to suggestions. But I am definitely trying my best to narrow down the choices so we can make a decision and set the date. I will check out Penns Landing Caterers...thanks!

            2. re: jenn19106

              6k to close the restaurant including food and drink? That is an incredible price.

              1. re: saturninus

                Not really, especially for a weekend night. They have to cover the revenue they would have made that evening, plus they take a hit on customers who arrive to eat that night and can't because they're closed.

                  1. re: joluvscards

                    Yes, incredibly low! I am a she though, but no one would know that...

                    1. re: saturninus

                      Sorry about that- I realized after I posted what you meant=)

                  2. re: saturninus

                    Agreed! You can see why I really like the idea, right? I think I might stop in there on tonight and see how business is...

                  3. re: jenn19106

                    I think that if Farmacia is where your instincts take you, then go there! It seems like exactly what you want, from what you're saying. I wouldn't worry too much about them closing, as they've been in business for a while, but would ask for some sort of contract clause to protect you in the odd case that they do.

                    Also, if your budget is $15K, I'd reccommend trying to stay around $12K. You'd be surprised how much the tax and gratuity will add up!!

                1. Twenty21 is a nice room and has good food. I'm not sure if they still do weddings, but try Frederick's at Front & Christian. Their food is excellent, the room is nice and they offer valet parking.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lawgirl3278

                    I live in Queen Village and love Italian cuisine but have never tried Fredericks. Not sure why. Thanks for the idea.

                  2. I know Twenty21 does weddings, does have good food, decent prices and has a really nice spot for cocktail hour, etc. We looked there for a rehersal dinner. Davio's would probably fit the bill on space, I think they are pricey (consumption bar) although I have never eaten there . . . but you could check it out

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ledc

                      I made an appt at Twenty21 for this afternoon...so I will report back. Davio's sent me their banquet menu and it is pricey. A lot of additional charges (ceremony set up, etc) and the 23% gratuity is the highest that I've seen. I had an appt at PAFA a couple of hours ago. Does anyone know anything about Jimmy Duffy catering? They are the exclusive caterer...

                      1. re: jenn19106

                        PAFA requires you to guarantee 150 guests. When are you planning on getting married? I just went through this (on a budget similar to yours) so would be happy to give you some suggestions/ideas. You can also look here for ideas: http://www.partyspace.com/.

                        1. re: LilBigEater

                          Hi...would love to hear your ideas! It is so overwhelming. PAFA did not have a minimum for the HLB but the catering company pushes you into their wedding package which is built for a minimum of 100 guests. Please pass along any ideas...I would appreciate it! I will also check out partyspace...thanks.

                          1. re: jenn19106

                            Check out Feastivies Catering. We used them for our wedding - food is DELICIOUS and they do not require a minimum number of guests. They could definitely point you to some venues that would have room for dinner and dancing. We got married at the Philopatrian Literary Institute on 19th and Walnut. It was a beautiful space and great for the number of guests you're planning to have. The Philo has a venue rental rate, however - not sure what your entire budget is. If you're looking for an inexpensive facility rental, definitely check out some of the City sites - the Atwater Kent museum, some of the Fairmount Park mansions, etc - they are relatively inexpensive. Also, if you're not planning on getting married in the spring/summer, you can usually negotiate major discounts for all your vendors.

                    2. Other restaurants with large private rooms are Paradiso, Susanna Foo, Brasserie Perrier, McCormick and schmik, and Moshulu.

                      1. Maggiano's - 12th and Filbert - I've been to two wedding receptions there - they have enough room for dining and dancing (one reception had a full band) and the price can't be beat -- I think it starts at $22 per person!

                        1. Have you considered Creperie Beaumonde? http://www.creperie-beaumonde.com My partner and I announced our engagement to both our families there and it was a perfect place. I think they could accomodate a party of 85 - the food is fabulous and the service is excellent. I do agree with the Magianno's suggestion as well.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: livlab

                            No, I didn't think about Beau Monde at all. And we were just there for bruch last Sunday... I did think about Le Tage (upstairs bar) but then couldn't picture the table arrangement. Did they close the restaurant for you? Was the cost reasonable? Thanks!

                          2. I guess you discovered that Twenty21 has an 18,000 minimum!! Give Rembrandt's a try. They have a lovely second floor and the prices are right.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: OlderPhiladelphian

                              I did my rehearsal dinner @ Maggiano's in King of Prussia.....excellent job. No BS. Jimmy Duffy's is fantastic...they're pro's who know elegance without the attitude. Their food is first rate....and ultimately you'll pay top dollar for it.

                              I would steer clear of Rembrandt's. Highly inconsistent food, mediocre service at best. Their "event manager" is a complete disaster.

                              1. re: Major504

                                Hey...thanks for the info. Since we're leaning toward PAFA, it's could to get input on their exclusive caterer!