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Nov 30, 2010 02:07 PM

Restaurant to buy out for rehearsal dinner?

I know I can count on the Hounds for help ...

I'm planning a wedding rehearsal dinner for roughly 80 people in April. (Everyone's invited, not just family.) The intention is for casual, stand-up food and drink. I'm guessing that the best bet will be to buy out a smaller restaurant and ask them to open the bar and just keep bringing food out until people stop eating it.


1) In San Francisco. Ideally Embarcadero/FiDi/Union Square/SOMA/Mission/Castro, and accessible by BART or Muni.

2) Willing to do a buy out on a Friday night. (OR have a separate space for 80 people.)

3) Good service, but casual atmosphere.

4) Good with vegetarian food.

5) Pizza would be a plus.

6) A cool space.

Our first thought was Beretta, but they don't do buyouts - their only offer was their downstairs room, which only seats 40 (and is frankly much blander than the upstairs).

Second thought was The Plant on the Embarcadero, which satisfies all of the above - except that the food just hasn't been that good the past couple times we've gone.

Please help! Thanks!

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  1. I have no personal knowledge of this, but I wondered if Pauline's Pizza would do a buyout of their second floor, so I checked their website:

    Both Rooms [upstairs]: Very large groups up to 65-85 people may reserve both rooms, if available, thus buying out the entire upstairs dining room for the evening. In this situation, Pauline's provides your guests a staffed bar and lavish pizza buffet. The minimum charge for reserving the entire upstairs dining room is $3,000.

    FIXED-PRICE OPTIONS (Groups of 18 or more)

    • $31.00 per person: Pizza, family-style green salad, breadsticks, and two beverages per person; tax and service included. The beverages included with this option are Pauline's own "Pizza Red" house wine, house white wine, beer, soda, or coffee*.

    • $25.00 per person: Pizza, family-style green salad, and breadsticks; tax and service included

    • Children 4-11 years old, $16.00 per child: Pizza, green salad, breadsticks, and one soda such as sparkling apple cider*; tax and service included. (No fixed charge for children 0-3 years old; you may wish to order a small pizza at regular menu price for them.)

    • Dessert–add $7.00 per person. For groups of 20 or or more, we offer two options for pre-arranged desserts: Individual petite chocolate mousses made from our own recipe (with whipped cream!) or platters of seasonally available fresh fruit, such as strawberries. Tax and service are included in this $7.00 price; this dessert option must be arranged one week in advance or earlier.

    Pauline's Pizza
    260 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    1 Reply
    1. re: artemis

      Good advice! And I'll mention that Pauline's wine bar next door has a separate kitchen that makes a different menu than the main restaurant. So it might be possible to supplement the pizza menu.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Go here: (click the tab on the top that says "buyout"). No affiliation.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ML8000

          This is a nice resource not only in itself but because a number of these restaurants have private dining managers who can (not always do-but can) make planning the night much easier.

        2. You might try here
          Hotel Vitale
          Ive been to a reception there that was great, they have roof top also

          1 Reply
          1. re: celeryroot

            Vitale also has suites that open up to parts of the roof top. I don't think those are big enough for 80, but it's worth asking if you'd consider doing the party in a suite and having it catered.

            In a similar vein, I once attended an anniversary at Hang Gallery (an art gallery near Union Square). It was really quite lovely, but food had to be catered from outside. I'm not sure if the tables, chairs, and linens were rentals or if Hang does enough events that they provide them. It was a really nice setup for a cocktail party, and the art gave everyone something to talk about

          2. Very good leads so far ... thank you for the help!

            Pauline's is an interesting idea, although I have to say that I don't love their pizza. The price is good, though - especially considering it includes tax and tip!

            Any other suggestions?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Eris48

              My two cents:

              I don't love it either, but for me when it comes to really big events, I start thinking about how most of my family are not hounds. In this instance, in my family, most would not appreciate, or even like, the kind of pizza offered by our board faves. Pauline's uses excellent quality ingredients, makes a style of pizza which I don't love, but does make a style that everyone likes. So, it satisfies my requirement of serving actual quality food at events I host, but without the inevitably unappreciated additional expense of serving what I would actually be excited by, as well as avoiding the disappointment of a bunch of guests freaked out by "weird" food that I went to trouble and expense to choose. Many of the people coming to my rehearsal would not appreciate a Una Pizza or Delfina pizza that much more than a Pauline's. And that Delfina pizza x 80 people would cost me a lot more money.

              As my grandmother said lovingly about parts of the family, "there's no use feeding a [donkey] strawberries." The donkey likes less expensive things just as much. So, in these instances, I pick quality food that most will enjoy and I am willing to stand behind, and then take that savings from not serving 80 people the ultimate chow to go out to a great food-centric dinner with my SO, who IS a hound :).

              Delfina Restaurant
              3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110