Restaurants in Northbrook for Large Group
Can you guys recommend some good restaurants in Northbrook that would be good for a large group -- say around 15-20? We're looking for a place that would also be good for kids. Some place like Maggianos would be good, but going out to Old Orchard isn't an option as it's too far. We looked into Prairie Grass Cafe, but it's a little too pricey.
Buca Di Beppo on Milwaukee. If Maggiano's was a serious consideration, then Buca should be right up your alley.
Hackney's on Milwaukee has a few side sections that look like the perfect size for you, and they appear to just be a part of the main dining room.
610 E 142nd St, Dolton, IL 60419
A group of 15-20 is borderline between whether you would be seated in the main dining room vs having a private room to yourselves. I'd recommend a private room if you can get one.
When you say that PGC was too pricey, did you have a conversation with their staff about your desired budget, or did you reach that conclusion only based on their website menu? Often, restaurants can come up with a special menu for your group that is within your budget, even if it's less than shown on their website (which is exactly what happened with us at Pete Miller's - see below). However, if you spoke to them and they said they just can't meet your budget, that may indicate that a restaurant like Pete Miller's or Maggiano's may be beyond your budget too, and you may need to choose an inexpensive restaurant such as possibly a Chinese restaurant in the area.
Wildfire, mentioned above, is a possibility. They do a lot of private parties and have several rooms of varying sizes. However, I ran into a problem when considering them for a private function. They have minimum charges based on the size of the room (and possibly the night of the week?) and they are based on the maximum number that the room holds. So if you're in a room that fits 25, your minimum will be based on the cost of having 25 dinners, even if your party is only 15 or 20 people. As you can see, the meal can end up being very expensive for that reason. What was all the more surprising was that this party (in our case, for 30-35 people) being reserved only three weeks ahead of time due to a snafu with another restaurant, and Wildfire gave us absolutely no leeway on the minimum for the room, which meant that they preferred that it go empty than provide some flexibility in order to host the group and still make some money. I consider it a reflection of the lack of empowerment that the banquet coordinators for a corporate restaurant group have. FWIW we ended up at Pete Miller's ( www.petemillers.com ) in Wheeling, which worked out well for us; they worked with us on pricing and we didn't have to worry about minimums (the banquet coordinator there is the wife of the owner). The only issue we had was variability in the doneness of the steaks served to our group.
Incidentally, one other place in the Glenview-Northbrook area worth considering is Mitchell's Fish Market in the Glen Town Center in Glenview. They have a private room that's about the size you need, and their seafood is excellent. www.mitchellsfishmarket.com
Another possibility is to talk with the private party folks at Lettuce Entertain You. They arrange private parties for all the LEY restaurants, which means they can talk with you about Wildfire as well as Di Pescara, the seafood/Italian restaurant in Northbrook Court. They have a special website for their private party folks, at www.lettuceparties.com