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Need help with rehearsal dinner for ~25 guests on a Friday night

Turning to you for help - at this point, a little desperate to find a place - would like to be on the Cambridge side of the river or anywhere in that quadrant of Rt. 128 between the Pike and I-93. (Wedding is in Lincoln, MA).

The issue seems to be that the places we like either don't have well defined space or are leery about a large party in the middle of a Friday night, which is understandable. For example, really wanted to go with Gran Gusto, but they want us either at 4:30 or 9 pm, which is too early or too late. May be able to negotiate an earlier start time, but wanted to look at other options.

Considered Pescatore but similar issues - no real space and conflicts with Friday night dinner service.

Based on the board recommendations, looked at Henrietta's Table (booked) and Rialto (way too expensive) - also thought about Bistro 44 at the Doubletree in Bedford (not having been but was scouting), but we would be relegated to a hotel function room, so eh...

So ideally, looking for a place that will have obviously good food - Italian would be best, but nothing crazy -

Actually had a great idea to try the Flatbread Pizza Co. in Davis at the former Sacco's but that got negged as too casual. Ugh. I should have eloped. ;)

In any case, would love to read the products of your recommendations and/or brainstorms....

Thanks!

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Pescatore
158 Boston Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

Henrietta's Table
One Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Gran Gusto
90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

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  1. Too bad about Gran Gusto... How about Russell House downstairs. I've seen a couple private parties down there. They have a screen type curtain to pull around a private party or the sectioned off area to the left of the bar at the bottom of the stairs. Or Dante

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    Gran Gusto
    90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

    1 Reply
    1. re: Snowflake

      maybe bambara at the marlow great steak and fish options

    2. How about Summer-Winter in the Burlington Marriott? Or the nearby L'Andana?

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      L'Andana
      86 Cambridge Street, Burlington, MA 01803

      1. How about Vinny's at Night, you could take over one of the levels? I think that would be a blast for a rehearsal dinner. Is that too casual as well?

        You definitely should have eloped! I said the same thing throughout the process.

        Il Casale in Belmont is another option to explore.

        1. Thanks for all the suggestions so far and keep 'em coming.
          I thought about Vinny's, but did not think it would work but with your encouragement, I will give them a call.
          Have not made it to Russell House yet, so thanks for that suggestion.
          L'Andana popped in my head after the post, and I will look into Summer-Winter too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            I think you would like the Russell House. The space downstairs is more open then when it was Z square and it's a nice space. Food is wonderful.

          2. Wow. I think we are leading parallel lives as B and I, having been thwarted from eloping last year, are getting hitched in a week on a schooner in Gloucester in front of 15 family members (party to follow!). We tossed around a lot of ideas for the pre-wedding dinner and in a nod towards me and my family, we are going to do a Korean dinner at Apgujung in Newton. Not the most authentic place, but the atmosphere is decent, parking is easy and and we think it'll be fun for the groom's side to stretch their boundaries a little to participate in some table-side grilling Korean bulgogi and soju.

            (We came >this close< to booking some lanes at Sacco's. Our crowd is definitely not above some good ol' bowling and pizza...after all, we're eating at the Lobster Pool post-wedding!)

            Are there any race/cultural differences that would be fun to exploit in similar fashion? Would you be open to tasty interactive food experiences to challenge folks just a wee bit (but not turn Grandma off)? Or if your guests are not from the area, a good taste of summer in New England, like a classic clam bake or lobster shack? I know one of the Harbor Islands hosts a Summer Shack clambake (is that Thompson Island?). Rent out the Community Boat House on the Charles and get it catered with a bartender. Or catering at a cool spot from Blue Ribbon BBQ or someplace you really love? Especially if you are having a formal wedding (?). Have some fun with dinner Friday night! You get my drift. People can eat in any old restaurant anytime - give them an experience!

            Oh and congrats!

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            Lobster Pool
            329 Granite St, Rockport, MA 01966

            Apgujung
            1114 Beacon St, Newton, MA

            4 Replies
            1. re: digga

              The lobster pool (or Tommy's as my family calls it due to the previous owner's name) is my ultimate wedding dinner!! What a great idea!

              1. re: digga

                Wow congrats to both you, B and Bob Dob and his bride! digga -- I think your plans sound like a hoot!

                1. re: digga

                  Digga, congrats and that's a great set of ideas -

                  1. re: digga

                    Our "rehearsal dinner" was at a bowling alley in Gloucester and was catered by Redbones. As our wedding was so small, pretty much everyone was invited to the rehearsal dinner. We didn't tell people where we were going, just told them to dress casually and gave them hand drawn maps!

                    It was a blast.

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                    Redbones
                    55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

                  2. Bistro 5 in Medford? Rent out all of Buona Vita in Arlington? AKA Bistro in Lincoln?

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                    Bistro 5
                    5 Playstead Road, Medford, MA 02155

                    Buona Vita
                    450 Mass Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                    AKA Bistro
                    145 Lincoln Rd, Lincoln, MA 01773

                    1. What time of the year are you looking to do it? I have seen some really nice candlelight dinners at Vino Italiano in Waltham, I assume catered by La Campania -- that would be my choice. If you would consider Portuguese Portugalia has a function room which is separate from the main dining area. Trattoria Pulcinella has their patio, but its too small for a group that size to do a sit-down meal. They aren't in your exact area, but I have seen Pastalina's in Medford close for a weekend-night party (probably larger than 25) and Abbondanza in Everett has a downstairs dining room/function space. Oasis in Medford has a function room if you would do Brazilian and is more convenient. I have no idea about their food but Brunello Bistro (eg Bread & Co's Italian restaurant) on Winter Hill would probably accomodate. Lastly Salvatore's in downtown Medford is supposed to be opening before fall and for red-sauce Italian the East Side Grill and Bar in East Cambridge would probably close the two upper rooms (its slightly fancier red sauce, pizza, steak tips).

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                      Trattoria Pulcinella
                      147 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

                      La Campania
                      504 Main St, Waltham, MA 02452

                      1. Dalya's in Bedford is a good option. We did a rehearsal dinner there for my brother, which came off quite well.

                        http://www.dalyas.com/

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                        Dalya's Restaurant
                        20 North Rd Ste 1, Bedford, MA 01730

                        1. Blue Ginger in Wellesley has private rooms that would seat various #s. May be expensive but the lounge menu has less expensive Ming's Bling's and other reasonably priced dished. I am sure they have a special events menu choice. Good luck and Congratulations.

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                          Blue Ginger
                          583 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482