Restaurant recommendations needed for group of 12 for early dinner
I am having family and friends coming in from out of town for my daughter's baptism at the end of May and am interested in recommendations anyone might have for an early dinner on a Sunday night for a party of 12. We live in River North so we would be interested in restaurants in our neighborhood, the Loop, Streeterville, the Gold Coast or Lincoln Park. I think our party may not be big enough to reserve a private room but a restaurant that offered that would be a nice option. We would like something nice but not too expensive and the culinary tastes of our group runs the gamut (in-laws who mostly like red sauce Italian, a foodie chef, a sister who is always on a diet to myself and my husband who like to eat good food and are fairly adventuresome) , making the choice a little more complicated. Mostly, we want a place that is special but not stuffy with a nice atmosphere and of course, baby friendly. Thanks in advance for your help.
Here are some topics that may be of interest:
BYOB W/ Private Space To Host Party? - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/456702
BYOB Near Magnificent Mile? - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/504819
Best Chicago BYOB (Casual) - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/431411
Metromix also allows you to filter their restaurant listings by those offering BYOB, and you can further filter by location, type of food, etc: http://chicago.metromix.com/facets/re...
Note that restaurants that have a liquor license are permitted by law to add corkage fees. At some such restaurants, the corkage fees can be substantial, enough to make it not worthwhile.
If you're considering a dinner as early as, say, 4:00 pm or so, anyplace you eat you'll have mostly to yourself, and issues like baby friendliness aren't a problem. Cafe Spiaggia ( www.cafespiaggia.com ) has great Italian food, maybe the best in the city with the exception of its fancy sister restaurant next door. For the situation you describe, you might find Coco Pazzo Cafe ( www.cocopazzocafe.com ) a bit more casual and intimate, and they can seat you in their platform area.
How about Cafe Iberico for tapas? A huge menu means something for everyone and they have a semi-secluded area in their deli for groups your size. Early Sunday, though, you won't have a problem getting a bit of privacy. It's cheap and good, and the variety on the menu should work for you. I've taken large groups there several times and everyone leaves happy.