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Jul 23, 2010 12:56 PM

Reception for a food-obsessed bride in Cleveland

Hi all! I am planning (on fairly short notice) my wedding for mid-October to be held in University Circle. I am looking for a restaurant (near east, downtown or west) to handle 50 for a lunch or very early dinner. I have a couple in mind, but where would you go? The trick is that I don't want anything that's too casual or has mediocre food, but I also don't want to have to sell my soul to pay for it. Please help...

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  1. I am not in Cleveland but I had my wedding lunch at Maggiano's in Phoenix. This was not my first choice but it could not have come off better. To this day guests still rave about the food, the room was beautiful so all we had to do was put floral centerpieces on the table and since the meal was served family style it forced guests to speak to each other (many did not know each other). We had 50 guests and served wine with the meal as well as had a champagne toast (tip the wait staff well prior to the reception and you will find your booze bill goes WAY down). It was quite reasonably priced and not formal yet certainly not casual as the room was just ornate and lovely.

    Good luck!

    Troy, MI, Troy, MI

    1. My biggest bit of advice is to make sure you choose a place that has a lot of experience with private parties (which is likely if they have a private banquet room for your group). I've arranged dinners for a lot of groups and once made the mistake of thinking that I didn't want a banquet place, that I wanted a restaurant "with character", and rented out an entire restaurant. The problem was that they had absolutely no experience with large groups, and didn't know how to serve a large number of people at exactly the same time. It took them over an hour to serve each course because they didn't have the ability to prepare 80 of an item and have them all ready at exactly the same time.

      Some restaurants have banquet menus on their websites but are often happy to work with you to develop your own menu that's within your budget, so don't get discouraged if the place you want looks like it might be too expensive, at least try asking. The second question they will ask (right after the date) is what your budget is, so be prepared to answer.

      If you know where most people will be coming from - either guests from out of town or locals - it will be a BIG help to have the reception nearby. It's a huge hassle to move 50 people from one location to another, so if you can find a place within walking distance of the hotel or the ceremony, it will make everything much much easier.

      What all of this translates to is, good food is a nice objective, but don't sacrifice other factors like convenience, experience, or geographical proximity just to go to a place that may have the "foodiest" food - you may regret doing that. Granted, you don't want people talking about how bad the food was, but you also don't want people to be inconvenienced and say afterwards, "Why did we have to traipse all the way over THERE???"

      Congratulations and good luck!

      1. When I lived in Cleveland's Little Italy for a summer I would have dinner at Trattoria every Friday. I just looked at their website and they have several party rooms, but it doesn't specify how many people they hold. It's a nice blend of not too casual but not super fancy.

        1. I ate at The Greenhouse Tavern on Sunday and a family had rented it out that evening for their daughter's 16th birthday party. I'm not sure what the price would be on that but they seemed to be well organized and didn't have to close the restaurant for the whole day to prepare or anything, so perhaps you could just rent it for a couple of hours. Oh, and the food is divine.

          I'm not sure if they have experience with big parties (or if they have a room to accomodate - I've only eaten in one room there), but L'Albatros is right in University Circle, and I think their lunch menu is excellent and so reasonable.

          The Greenhouse Tavern
          2038 E 4th Street, Cleveland, OH 44115

          2 Replies
          1. re: emmaleeb

            I was also eating at Crop one evening at the chef's table and they were cooking lots of appetizers for a party, so you might want to check what they might offer.

            1. re: heidikay

              Crop will be in the process of moving in mid-October, though their new location will have amazing function space.

          2. Talk to Moxie. They recently revamped their menu and price points, and might be able to handle your budget. They have a nice private room.

            Also, Lolita has a private room, though it is up a flight of stairs, and they would probably work within a reasonable budget for you.