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Central Jersey or Staten Island Private Party Recomendation for 60-70 people

I am interested in finding a venue for a my daughter's Christening party. I expect roughly 60 - 75 people. I live in Manalapan but much of my crowd is coming from Brooklyn/Staten Island, so I am looking for something convenient to those places (e.g. Manalapan, Marlboro, New Brunswick, Staten Island, Woodbridge). BYOB a plus or liquor license. Food is flexible- although need to be a crowd pleaser. Would like something different with nice ambiance... Thanks in Advance :)

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  1. I am still planning my daughter's baptism! I want something close to our home, so recently we dined at Spargo's in Manalapan and we were quite pleased. It is a BYOB, which helps (especially if you have drinkers like we do in the bunch!)

    I am thinking about using this place. The other place we had dinner at just last week was Tuscan Grill on rt. 9 in Manalapan. (Where Lamberti's use to be) Even though it is yet another "Italian" restaurant...we are having about 70 people as weel and the menu seems to please everyone. (Same owners as That's Amore.)

    I hope this helps! Please let me know what you decide!

    http://www.spargosgrille.com/

    http://www.tuscangrillcucina.com/

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    That's Amore
    430 US Highway 9, Englishtown, NJ 07726

    2 Replies
    1. re: Angelina

      I had my son's Baptism about a year and a half ago at Spargo's. We love Spargo's. We go there semi-frequently for dinner. Tim (the owner) is a great guy and he food is always fresh and well prepared. The somewhat new manager Dan is not so great... I feel that the service went a little downhill since he came, but that wouldn't stop me from going there. We had about the same amount of people. We hired a DJ as well which we felt was a little bit of a waste because with that many people there was nowhere to dance. Overall, we were very happy with the event. One other thing, Tim did downsize the portions for the party which I didn't like. I wish I would have known that in advance. I would have paid extra. I have many big eaters. We just want something differen this time around.
      I haven't seen/heard of Tuscan Grill and I live very close to route 9. Although, maybe I need to look! If it's anything like That's Amore, it would totally not be for us. We don't like that place AT ALL. Big portions of low-quality food IMO.

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      That's Amore
      430 US Highway 9, Englishtown, NJ 07726

      1. re: angel28970

        Thanks for the heads up on Spargo's! :)

        It is just like That's Amore...I agree about the food, unfortunately where we both live this seems to be the "norm".

        We would have loved to have our party at Le Fandy in fair Haven (Chef Ong has done a great job on few dinner parties we had there!) but, unfortunately it is too far for everyone to drive after the church :( Plus, not close for the friends who want to come back to the house.

        In Staten Island, we have been to a lot of parties at Angelina's. I really like the decor and think the food is good, I just think the price might spike up alot with that many people.

        Good luck!

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        Le Fandy Restaurant
        609 River Rd, Fair Haven, NJ 07704

    2. I REALLY like the space at Angelina's and have heard that the food is very good. I just can't see spending that much for a Christening- The STARTING menu is $58pp + open bar $35 + 20% gratuity and 8.6% tax. That is like $108PP!!! My mom considered having my baby shower for my son there, but we went with Dosi Cafe instead. I really loved my baby shower there and would like a place like that. For the same price of a basic shower at Angelina's we were able to get many extras like passed appetizers and a bellini bar that made the day special. I would have gone there for the Christening, but it was sold and now there is a new owner/chef. Not sure how it is... Was really happy with that event.

      3 Replies
      1. re: angel28970

        Are you me? ha ha!! We seem to have the same taste :)

        I did not know Angelina's changes owners!! Thanks for the note! I agree the price is crazy high!!! Thank goodness the parties we have been to there, someone else threw!!!

        Don't know if this will work for you, but from a very fabulous source here on the board, RGR, she suggested a place to dine in Manalapan...KUZU. It is Turkish, and we went last week and I must say, the food was great!!!! We really enjoyed everything! Here is the link:

        http://kuzurestaurant.com/

        Again, keep me posted because we are both in the same boat!!! (With the baptism!)

        1. re: Angelina

          No, no, no... The owners of Dosi Caffe in Staten Island changed names and owners/chef. Angelina is still the same. The problem was not only the price. It was also the attitude I sensed. It was like i don't need your business. We are going to charge you top dollar and this is what you get, take it or leave it.... I have found that I have had really great experiences going to a smaller restaurant and taking over the whole place or doing a private room. The owners (like Tim at Spargo's) seem to want to do everything to make you happy and you end up getting much more for your money. Angelina's or catering halls, are like generic party factories.

          I have been to Kuzu. I enjoyed the food as well.

          I would highly recommend Spargo's for you. I wouldn't use Tim's set menus. He will allow you to pick your own menu then he will price it out for you. I made up my own menu and was very happy with the price/quality/service. I even hired a bartender from him and brought in the alcohol to set up a bar. I would just manage that Dan character... Make sure you are vocal with exactly what you want from him. Someone else posted a reply agreeing with me about his service, but don't see it here. It's not that he is terrible, but the service was so warm and friendly before. He is a very dry person. I heard he previously managed a catering hall, which probably explains it.

          My sister-in-law recommended some places that I will check out but none seem to grab me right away:
          Sir John's New Brunswick (need to check out, went to nephew's party there but dont remember it)
          Molly Pitcher Inn (too far for family- do not want to go any further than Manalapan for them)
          Ponte Vecchio (seems like generic Italian but will check out)
          Sam Vera (will check it out)

          Does anyone else have any ideas?? Come on Chowhound people!!! :) Thanks

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          Molly Pitcher Inn
          88 Riverside Ave, Red Bank, NJ 07701

          Ponte Vecchio
          3863 Highway 516, Old Bridge, NJ 08857

          1. re: angel28970

            Sir John's is in North Brunswick, NJ about half-mile off route 130. It's about 15 minutes south of exit 9 of the NJ Turnpike. Been to several events at this venue. Great food and they serve alcohol. Speak to Lily, she will provide information/logistics for your daughter's event. Good luck & congrats. on your her Christening.

      2. May not offer the food experience you're looking for, but there are several "catering hall" type options in downtown Freehold, including Courtyard on Main (probably the downstairs dining room based on your party size), The American Hotel and Park Avenue Bistro. I'm using Park Avenue Bistro's upstairs party room for an event in a few months. Its a very attractive, private room and very reasonably priced. Food, however, can be a bit hit or miss (at all three of these venues).

        1 Reply
        1. re: jsfein

          Thanks for the additional options! Much appreciated...

        2. I really like Ponte Vecchio Italian Seafood Grille - Old Bridge, NJ - (732) 607-1650. the food is fantastic, and it's BYOB. They have a [party menu but I'm not sure how many people they can accomadate. here is the website www.restaurantpontevecchio.com
          The prices are also pretty reasonable for a party.

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          Ponte Vecchio
          3863 Highway 516, Old Bridge, NJ 08857

          1 Reply
          1. re: maxthegreat

            We actually were very interested in Ponte Vecchio but they were all booked up for every Sunday in April, May and June. We are actually going to visit their sister restaurant LouCas in Edison and are considering there. The menu is the same. I have not been to Ponte Vecchio but have been to Fresco in Milltown which is another sister restaurant with the same menu.

            We also visited Sam Vera. We thought that their room was very small for us.

            If some of these other places don't work out, I may just go back to Spargo's.

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            Ponte Vecchio
            3863 Highway 516, Old Bridge, NJ 08857

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