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Jan 18, 2010 12:46 PM

Looking for Help - "Affordable" 20 person birthday dinner in Chicago?

Hey all -- hoping for a little help from the browsing culinary masses. I'm hosting a birthday party in early Feb at the Green Door Tavern and looking for a great place for a large group to eat beforehand. A few stipulations:

- Needs to accomadate ~20 people (and therefore must take reservations, at least for large groups).
- Must be "affordable." I'm a young guy with mostly young, cheap, poor, grad-student like friends. $20-$40 per person would be great.
- Location - hopefully within a few miles of the Green Door (678 N Orleans Street, Chicago)
- BYOB helpful but not necessary

I've considered: Mariscos El Veneno (probably at the top of the list right now), La Madia, La Cocina Boricua de la Familia Galarza, Piece Pizza, Tango Sur (not sure they take reservations?), and probably a few others that I'm forgetting right now...

Any and all recommendations are appreciated. Thanks all!

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  1. I'm not familiar with some of the places you listed,but Piece Pizza and Tango Sur are not close to the Green Door. Piece is a couple of miles away. Tango Sur is further. I believe they take reservations for parties of 6 or more, but I'm not sure if they can accommodate 20.

    1. What about Quartino? It's within walking distance of Green Door Tavern and is definitely affordable and has a fun, lively atmosphere. I also see big groups upstairs fairly often and you can make reservations. It's not BYOB, but the wine's not expensive and it has a big enough variety on the menu there's something for everyone.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ms. mika

        Quartino is a good suggestion. We've been there with groups nearly as large and the per person tab rarely exceeds $30. Something for everyone.

      2. For a group that size, I strongly recommend a place that has a private room of the appropriate size, and one that is within a few blocks walk of the tavern. It will make everything so much easier.

        When you have one or more candidates identified, discuss your needs with their banquet coordinators (sometimes that's the person's title, sometimes you're dealing with the owner, etc). Places are often willing to create a menu that fits within your budget. There are ways to keep the price down (such as fewer courses, serving appetizers buffet style, having a cash bar so you're not paying for alcohol, etc).

        2 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          Nacional 27, the excellent Latin fusion restaurant, is kitty corner from Green Door Tavern, and they have a private room that holds 20-60. I don't know if they can do something for your price range, but it's definitely worth asking! (Lots of places can do things that are very affordable at off hours, less so if it's prime time Saturday night.) You'll find more info on their website at

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Thanks for the shout out on LTH, Nsxtasy! :)

          2. Why not eat and drink at the Green Door Tavern? From their website, they offer private parties. The food prices don't look outrageous - although the food choices don't look that special either for a birthday party.


            1 Reply
            1. re: lbs

              Green Door is ok for a quick lunch burger. And not the world's greatest burger. It is affordable, but I wouldn't consider it a place for a birthday celebration. The OP sounds like they are going to GD for drinks after dinner and are looking for a place to eat.

            2. We had a large group (15) at Quartino, lots of food and lots of wine for about 20 per person - I thought it was a mistake! It's loud and lively - maybe a little tight with the seating (they just opened a few weeks before we were there), but it was a great night. They will give you a reservation, but I don't know if they have a private room.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KarenM

                Upstairs at Quartino is better than downstairs for large groups. Excellent either way but louder downstairs.