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Restaurant Wedding in Minneapolis?

Hi there:

We’d like to get married somewhere nontraditional and have a reception possibly by renting out an entire restaurant. We are having a lot of people – 200-250 – and are looking for something unique. Any ideas out there? I realize we may have to find a place that is closed on Sundays (we are looking at a Sunday wedding) and of course anything with a fun patio for mingling would be awesome. I really appreciate any help or ideas!!



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  1. My first thought was Osteria I Nonni but I'm not sure they could accommodate 200+ all in the main dining room. They are closed on Sunday and have a very spacious patio (although the view is only of a pond, walking trail and some very expensive homes). It's also not in Minneapolis proper if you're being specific.

    Either way, the food would be outstanding and the atmosphere warm. Worth a call.

    1. We went to a very cool, non-traditional wedding at an old movie theater in Uptown a few years ago. (It might be 5 years already!) I don't know who did the catering, but the venue was very unique and fun. Don't know the name or exact location...sorry.

      2 Replies
      1. re: 4maxwelz

        If it was a unique theater in Uptown, it was probably the Suburban Theater. Although they always seem to be closed and then under new management.

        We had our reception at Nye's, which is certainly unique, but 100 people is about the max in the basement. Although when people mingle and go throughout the rest of the bar, many more could be accomodated.

        1. re: GutGrease

          If you're interested in an old theater, try the Varsity in Dinkytown. Catering by the Loring Pasta Bar. Solid.

          Solera has an entire floor you can rent out, although I'm not sure you could get 200-250 to squeeze in there.

      2. I've been to a Sunday wedding at Spill The Wine. The space is cool and the food is good, but not great.

        1. Loring Pasta Bar will also rent out their restaurant. I was at a wedding with about that size of a party there last year.

          1. Lurcat. And you can either rent out the cafe or bar or both...Additionally, it has two patios.

            1. Wow these are all great responses, thank you so much! I will definitely be checking out all of these suggestions as well as checking back for new replies.

              1. These two are not restaurants, but have unique spaces. The Semple Mansion on Franklin allows a caterer of your choice, and the space is beautiful. Also Blaisdell Manor is a beautiful old mansion in Mpls, and their catering menu looked great when we looked at it in 2006 (it was our top choice until they would not allow us to bring in our own cheese table). Good luck and congratulations!

                2 Replies
                1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                  There's definitely something to be said for places that let you choose your own caterer -- that's pretty rare.

                  1. re: mncharm

                    Doesn't seem as special when you find out there is only a cold kitchen there-- basically prep space but no oven, no stove. Your caterers can bring in hot boxes, but it does affect the types of food that will hold up.

                2. Semple Mansion on Franklin is a great spot.

                  One of the top catering companies in the Twin Cities is Create Catering. Philip the head chef is on the Cities 97 morning show and his food is incredible. I have done a few events with them and it is worth checking into to.

                  Call Nicki their Sales Director at 612-331-3310.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wineglas

                    I'll second CrEate (www.createcaters.com). They catered both our groom's dinner/open house, and my last birthday party. Fantastic food, great service. They could handle the limitations of the Semple Mansion and still give food with style and substance.

                  2. Not a restaurant, but check out the Weisman Museum. http://www.weisman.umn.edu/rental.html
                    Combining the gallery (certainly an unusual space) and one of the big meeting rooms would accomodate even a seated dinner for an event of the size you need.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: clepro

                      My wife and I were married at the Weisman in 1998 and we were completely happy with the event. A couple of things to bear in mind about the Weisman, though. (These may have changed in the last 10 years, but I think that they're still true.)

                      1) In addition to the rental fee, you have to have a high $-level membership in order to rent space there.

                      2) Alcohol service is a little more restrictive than most private venues - you have to get special approval and purchase a special liability insurance policy. Also - no red wine.

                      3) Perhaps most important from a chow standpoint - there is a list of approved caterers from which you must choose. We were happy with our catering, but if you are looking for something a little different, you may be out of luck.

                      1. re: bob s

                        Yep, #s 2 and 3 are still true, and certainly might give pause.

                        I don't think #1 is true though. The organization I have experience with that held events there didn't have a membership. Plus, I just checked the Weisman site and it says "anyone" can rent.

                        Although theoretically "anyone" can be a member, I hope they aren't that crafty with their wording!

                        1. re: clepro

                          If you look at the section for rental rates for private and corporate events, it says you need a patron level membership... :-(

                    2. OK-also not a restaurant-but we got married on a boat out of Stillwater. The St. Croix boat and packet will accomodate as many guests as you'd like-and the catering was pretty good with lots of options (Creole, Moroccan, etc.) We had a three hour Champagne Brunch in October. The colors were incredible, but if the weather is bad, it's all enclosed. Much better than the ones out of St. Paul I think. We had Buttercream come in to do cheesecakes and a dessert buffet. We had a live band on board and there was lots of room on both levels and on deck for milling around.

                      1. Again, thank you for all of your suggestions! We have appointments booked to look at Vic's and the Mpls Courthouse, and are in the process of looking at Spill The Wine, The Varsity Theatre, and Brit's. I also am going to get in touch with Prima in Minnetonka, we go there frequently. I'll keep people updated, if there is interest. Regardless, you're all very much appreciated and I will continue to check back!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: raforce

                          If you go with the Varsity, I'll obviously be expecting an invitation as the first to suggest it. :)

                          1. re: mncharm

                            Ha! It is actually one we are kind of waffling on because my fiance's coworker is getting married there a month after our date... and has been pretty vocal about the planning :) It just looked cool enough that we had to check it out. Hopefully we won't start a fight!

                        2. I'm not sure how nontraditional it is, but the Nicollet Island Pavillion is an awesome wedding and reception spot (especially if it's nice outside). It has amazing views of the Mpls skyline, a big deck overlooking the water for mingling, and holds a lot of people, from what I remember. You would have to use a caterer.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: midwaygirl

                            For some of the above responses-let me add in my two cents. Not sure on your budget-but just FYI. My BF got married in 2005 at Nicollet Island Pavillion - absolutely gorgeous-accommodated 220 (had invited a few more). $14,000 F & B minimum before tax.

                            Semple Mansion - I checked this one out for my own wedding. On a Sunday, $2500 (might've raised prices too for 2009) just to walk through door. There are many hidden fees I felt like when I perused the Semple Mansion but by far, one of the most beautiful venues to get married at.

                            Blaisdell Manor-I really considered this place. The upside is that you 1) have exclusive catering by Three Sons Signature (impeccable food and imagination) 2) they have an exclusive license with a certain liquor store so you can purchase alcohol at retail price from the store (which is a huge plus when considering cost of alcohol) and only charged what is opened, and can continue to order more liquor if needed up to a certain time and 3) not too far away from many hotels DT. Downsides-compared to many other non-city venues-no need for police officer to be on duty (and at your expense), off-street only parking for guests and a lot across from the Blaisdell (that all cars must be removed from premise by 12...which when you have drinking guests---and even if you provide transportation to hotels..they still need to remove their vehicles) and aside from the main area (somewhat odd acoustics) the space is broken up - so you must also have to pay for extra rooms for the evening.

                            1. re: snoboardbabe77

                              As mentioned by snob. check out pricing on liquor. If you can buy wine at a discount via the Blaisdell Manor you are saving tons. I event plan for large corporations and we bring wine into all venues and I save them thousands and we drink the best wine so do pay attention to that option.

                              1. re: wineglas

                                Yeah, bringing in our own wine would be great. Any other venues you can suggest where that would be allowed? We checked out the Arboretum but it wasn't "for us"...


                                1. re: raforce

                                  Two venues that allow you to bring your own booze AND serve it are the Historic Washington County Courthouse in Stillwater, and the PNA Hall in Minneapolis. If you are looking to save some money, those policies are instant money savers!

                          2. I also went to a beautifully catered wedding at the Blaisdell. I remember the food was great, but the whole place full of lucious flowers from City Gardens Flower Mill. Real Nice.

                            1. Raforce,

                              Legally anyone with a liquor license will have to allow you to bring in wine. I work with a ton of venues in town and have the ability to lower corkage fees.


                              4 Replies
                              1. re: wineglas

                                Raforce - When I went for my pre-consult to consider Blaisdell, I am pretty sure that the exclusive license is with Lowry Hills Liquor. The girl told me that the owner of Blaisdell and owner of LHL are either family or have been friends for a long time, so heck, why not. You are offered RETAIL, NOT COST...so, say, if you get married close to October, you're probably going to be able to take advantage of any fall wine specials LHL may have at the time. As I said before, you only get charged for what you drink - and what does not (unopened of course) can be returned. I believe it is up to 10? that they'll have them deliver more if need be. It would all be laid out when they did an estimate for you.

                                Wineglas-I've never heard that any venue with a liquor license has to allow you to bring in your own wine? Even if that is true, could they charge skies the limit for a corkage? I know it's just a matter of asking--but for a lot of wedding venues, the "extra" costs associated with liquor/beer/wine - (i.e., say for those that get kegs of beer, even domestic -running upwards of $275) it was for liability reasons. You're still responsible for your guests at your function. I thought that's why they upped the price. I'm just curious-if that statement was true, does it apply to beer and liquor as well?

                                I know some of the park districts (Harriet (St Paul), that place Elm Creek Reserve in MG (I looked at both)) allow you to bring in your own-but no glass bottles and wine/beer only. Not sure about any other venues.

                                1. re: snoboardbabe77

                                  Also Raforce- I know you said that you were originally looking at restaurants. I don't know if it is "unique" but Kozlaks is a good option (in Shoreview). It's where I had mine. Sister/family restaurant to Jax-but they have a great patio - (only open of course in nicer temps) that has an awning...they'll set it up with high tops, tablecloths and little candles for free. EXCELLENT WAITSTAFF (all their regular servers), great standard food, and I don't know about budget-but it is a great place to maximum your budget. Search chowhound midwest for Kozlaks. I did a big write up---but if you're considering the mansions, etc. - much more beautiful than Kozlaks. Doesn't look like much from outside.

                                  1. re: snoboardbabe77

                                    We did look at the "mansions" but unfortunately they were booked on our date. These are all such fun suggestions, thank you!

                                  2. re: wineglas

                                    Interesting, I did not know that. Thanks for the heads up. Right now our top contender is Brit's downtown, for the reception. They have quite a few bottles at $21-$30 so I feel comfortable with that. I suppose it all depends how much my friends are going to drink!

                                  3. I'd do Solera - they have a giant 3rd floor with windows overlooking downtown Mpls, a private terrace for mingling, and an entire rooftop area that has awesome views. Of course, their food is outstanding and from what I've experienced (I''ve held events there), the event staff makes everything perfect! They can easily hold 250 people, by the way.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: avaclaire

                                      Actually my best friend just got married at Solera in October. They had the entire 2nd and 3rd floors, with the private balcony, and it was fabulous. Great food, wonderful staff.

                                    2. Atlas Bar and Grill in Minneapolis is closed Sundays and books many weddings. It could easily accommodate your number of guests. It has a traditional grilled meat menu but also can do Persian food, or give things a bit of a Persian twist.

                                      For really nontraditional, how about the Bakken Museum of Electricity near Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. If/ when I get married, I would definitely consider it. It's an incredibly beautiful mansion with a beautiful garden (great if you're thinking of a summer event). I did an event there myself some years ago and know from that that it has a nice big kitchen that would make catering easy. And it is really quirky with all kinds of exhibits like a weird collection of historic medical devices. (Like I said, it's a little offbeat. But incredibly beautiful and historic space.)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: karykat

                                        Alas, the Bakken won't rent for weddings or other "purely personal" events. The event has to have some connection with the museum's purpose, and the electricity of love doesn't qualify.

                                        1. re: clepro

                                          Thanks for the info and I'm sorry to hear that. The event I did there was a class (definitely not electricity-related) with appetizers and drinks. But it was some time ago and I imagine they've changed their policies.

                                      2. Check out the Bourbon Street Steakhouse/Valentino's nightclub - they have a lovely venue for a wedding.