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May 25, 2008 08:05 PM

Salem, MA Rehearsal Dinner?

I am looking for a rehearsal dinner suggestion for an October wedding in Salem for about 50-75 guests. The majority of the group is from out of town and will be staying at the Hawthorne Hotel. Any places in mind that would be a particularly new england experience for my guests?

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  1. October in Salem is going to be tough. You MUST find a place that will reserve for that many people, which means it needs to be a banquet-style event. Perhaps the House of the Seven Gables, which rents out it's property. You could have Hawthorne Hotel's offsite catering division do a Lobster Bake. The property is in walking distance of the hotel, so you won't have to worry about transportation and it is right on the water. Beautiful venue, and I think they have an indoor alternative if the fickle October weather doesn't allow you to be outside.

    1. The previous replier is absolutely correct. The city's year-round population expands from 40,000 to 80 or even 100,000.

      Try the Hawthorne itself. (The restaurant's name is Nathaniel's.) The hotel has the ability to close off the back of its main dining room. I don't know if it will accommodate 75 people. You'll have to ask them.

      Capt's, Finz, and Victoria Station on Pickering Wharf could accommodate you, but they are pretty busy and may not be willing to serve a party of 75. Make reservations as soon as possible. Your guests can walk from the hotel to Pickering Wharf. None of these is particularly New England.

      The Lyceum may be a good bet. It's a block off the pedestrial mall and not as busy as some of the others. It's been around forever. Again your guests can walk.

      The Grapevine on Congress Street is terrific. It is not as well known as some of the others to visitors, but locals know it well and would not try to get a table without a reservation.

      Rockafella's at Essex and Washington Streets is pretty good. Some times the service sucks, but for a party of 75 it would step up. It has a New England feel to it.

      If you want authentic New England, Nathaniel's at the Hawthorne and The Lyceum on Church Street are probably your best bets. Neither is cheap, but you won't be disappointed with the food or the service. Your guests can walk to either.

      Keep in mind, October in Salem is nuts. If you are going to do this, get it done yesterday.

      Good luck.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Eevaluator

        Hopefully you are planning at the beginning of October, but it is true. Salem in October can be a navigational nightmare.

        The Hawthorne has excellent options and the food has never disappointed. You might be able to book the ballroom (or at least half of it) whihc overlooks the Common.

        Also the Grapevine is another excellent choice. If it is Indian summer, they have a lovely outdoor patio.

        Good luck.

        1. re: Eevaluator

          I've heard wonderful things from someone who got married at the Lyceum two years ago! At the time, the menu looked fairly reasonable, too, though they had a few of what I think of as predictable (and perhaps too tame) wedding meal choices like red bliss potatoes, carved beef, caesar salad, etc... not that there's anything wrong with that, but it might make a difference to some people on CH!

          1. re: Eevaluator

            My fiance was not big on the room at Finz. I did not see it. Has anyone attended a function there? How does the food at Victoria Station and Capt's size up?

            1. re: skiqueene

              I can't imagine if Finz didn't work that Victoria Station or Capt's would be better.

              What about Sixty2 Wharf. No water views, but the food is pretty good and the service is very attentive.

              1. re: skiqueene

                We had our wedding reception there and loved it. I think I posted earlier on this thread about it. The only downside is that there is no open air upstairs. But the view is lovely, the food is excellent, and the service is very attentive. I would recommend it to anyone. They do a fantastic job in every way!

            2. I second Finz - They have a private room that * I believe * could most likely accommodate all of your guests - I've always had great food there.

              2 Replies
              1. re: beverly1977

                I went to a rehearsal dinner at least that big at Finz that was nice. It was a simple salmon dinner I had, but the fish was cooked very nicely for something being done in huge quantities. I remember some excellent small chocolate cakes for dessert, too. (the fact that I remember the food at all from a rehearsal dinner is good news)

                1. re: beverly1977

                  We had our wedding reception there - it seats up to about 120 or cocktail reception for about 150 or so. I thought the food was delicious and the service was over the top. Our wedding day was perfect in every way, and the beauty of the location, the quality of the food, and the special care in the service were a big part of that (of course the pristine weather, wonderful group of friends and marrying the greatest man in the world played a part as well!!!:)

                  Call Sarah Petryk at (978) 744-8485 you will not regret!!

                2. I had my wedding and rehearsal dinner last October in Swampscott. I live in Salem now and say do not try to do anything in October. Our rehearsal was at Paradiso Ristaurante on Railroad Ave in Swampscott. It's less than 5 miles/15 minutes from Salem. They were super nice, the food was excellent (homemade pasta), they let us have the entire back of the restaurant to ourselves....they even printed out personal menus for us. It was perfect.

                  1. I recently went to Capt's and asked about their second floor dining area for the same reason. I would definitely recommend looking into them. Fireplace, a view of the harbor and The Friendship. It looked completely refurnished. The food was pretty good too. Finz is also a great place.