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Apr 5, 2008 08:29 PM

MSP - Nice Dinner for 30 Guests?

My boyfriend and I are planning an extremely low-key wedding consisting of a courthouse ceremony and a nice dinner for about 30 of our family members, most of whom are not Chowhounds and not very adventurous eaters. A steakhouse-style place would probably suit most of them, but not me (pescatarian).

Can you think of a place that fits these requirements?

-Located within 15 miles of St. Paul
-Has a private room that seats 30
-Has food that will please a wide variety of tastes (from my grandma who only eats at Olive Garden and Red Lobster to me who would love to have the dinner at Tanpopo if they had enough room)

My mom suggested Axel's, but I don't particularly care for the place. I'd rather support an independent restaurant than a chain.

I look forward to hearing your responses. I am always impressed by the great recommendations everyone here has.


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  1. Best wishes to you and your betrothed, Ms. Cake!

    One place I just recently noticed has a private room is Downtowner Woodfire Grill on West 7th in St. Paul. I've not dined in the private room myself, but according to their website, it seats 34. It's not exactly steakhouse style, but they do have steak on the menu, certainly. Many of the dishes have a "Persian" twist.

    And, just to throw out a second option, another place that I've come to appreciate lately for its low-key hospitality and fine (but not exceptional) chow is Bennett's Chop and Railhouse, also on West 7th. They say they'll organize private dining for groups 20-50 (not sure how they do that) http://www.bennettschopandrailhouse.c... There's nothing on the menu that's particularly adventurous, but they do lots from scratch.


    1. Osteria i Nonni in Lillydale has a very nice private room. The Chef is from Rome. The menu is very broad with pasta, fish, meat, etc. I've always found the food a tad overpriced -- it's good not great, or sometimes one dish great another mediocre. But I am pretty critical and eat out often. For a non-Chowhound crowd everyone will love it. The wine list is extensive and reasonably priced.

      1. I have friends that recently did both their wedding and reception for around that number at W.A. Frost, which has private rooms. They did it during the holidays and said everything was decorated beautifully for Christmas so they didn't have to spend a lot for table arrrangements etc.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RedPepper

          We had our rehearsal dinner at W.A. Frost a couple of years ago. Our group was a bit smaller (~18), but I remember them having a bigger room that would have seated more people. The food was good (not exceptionally interesting, but very well prepared). Some of our guests were not exceptionally adventurous eaters, but really seemed to like the food at Frost's. It is a bit expensive, but we thought it was worth it for the food and atmosphere.

        2. Jessica - congrats.

          I really like the downtowner as well. I haven't attended an event in the party room... but know people who have and who have been very pleased. plus I think its a pretty good value overall and you will deal with a local independent owner.

          The lexington has a great room - which can easily fit 30. and I've been to events there and they have done a great job. Very traditional menu. But good solid food.

          I was at Frost last night and there was an event in the basement I think? Is that where their party room is? hmmmmm

          I adore i nonni and have been to events there as well - they have done a great job as well. I agree with Michael F that sometimes there is a misstep every now and then.

          I think that the downtowner is the most reasonable price wise of those options. But I'm sure they all can be pricey to reasonable based on what you get & what you drink.

          1. What about Craftsman? I don't know if they have a private room or not, but if so they might be a good choice. I think some of the food is adventurous, but I think there is enough that is basic.

            Downtowner does have a private room. They would probably be a bit less expensive.

            Frost's has a smaller private room on their main floor. Not sure where the bigger room is.