HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Recos for large party in Harvard, Ayer, Acton, Clinton etc?

Reviving this same question for a pre wedding party - where the heck do you eat near Harvard, MA?!

Must be able to handle a large party. Will be 30-40 people. Prefer within 15 minute ride of Harvard. Sept/Oct timeframe. Shared plates, family style, buffet or heavy apps. Not a sit down dinner, but definitely need tables to sit. hoping the room or area can be flexible for standing/mingling and sitting/eating. Cocktails/beer. There are some diet restrictions – veg, lactose, shellfish allergy among them. The couple likes sushi/ethnic. Mid range on the $ point. IE J’s, Fireplace Room and Sprigs sound nice but probably out of the price range.

How are Woo Jung, Mango, Bamboo and Thai Time for atmosphere, food and capacity? Daniellas? Any of the others I researched here strike you?

Woo Jung Korean – Ayer
Mango Grill – Chinese – Ayer
Bamboo – Westford – Chinese/Sushi
Thai Time – Clinton
J’s Restaurant at Nashoba Winery – Bolton
Sprigs – Acton
Daniellas – Mexican
Bolton Roadhouse Grill – Bolton
Great Brook Farms BBQ – Bolton
Chole’s Bistro – Hudson
Old Timers – Irish Pub – Clinton MA
The Fireplace Room at the International – Bolton
the Outlook – Nashoba Valley Ski Area - Do you know anything about the Tiki Room (!)
Thirty One Main
Deven’s Grill
Tap Room at Bull Run – Shirley
Il Forno – Italian – Acton (BYO)
Crossroads Cafe
Still River Winery – just a winery but maybe cater/takeout?

Thanks in advance! -fiddy

Bull Run Restaurant
RR 2 Box A, Shirley, MA 01464

Mango Grill
38 Littleton Rd, Ayer, MA 01432

Woo Jung Restaurant
174 W Main St, Ayer, MA 01432

Old Timer Restaurant
155 Church St, Clinton, MA 01510

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That time of year in that locale, I would rent out an apple orchard and cater it

    1. What about the Herb Lyceum in Groton, or other possible places in that area?

      1. Do not go to Daniela's. I gave it two chances when I moved to Acton. The food is not good.

        The one time I ate at Il Forno was a bit odd. We ordered eggplant parmesan which was good, a decent shrimp scampi and okay spicy fried calamari which came in a fried tortilla shell.

        Crossroads is not special.

          1. Gibbet Hill in Groton could handle a group that size if you use their function room which is very nice. May be a bit pricy though.

            Not sure Chloe's Bistro could do it unless they were willing to shut the restaurant to the public that night.

            Don't think you'd get sushi or anything asian at Old Timers in Clinton.

            If you're willing to drive to Clinton you should check out Via Alto 27. http://www.ristoranteviaalto27.com/

            The Bull Run in Shirley has different size function rooms that would work for the size. Haven't eaten there in years so not sure what the menu is like these days.

            Thirty One Main in Ayer can hold that size group if they are closed to the public and the food is good.

            Bull Run Restaurant
            RR 2 Box A, Shirley, MA 01464

            Old Timer Restaurant
            155 Church St, Clinton, MA 01510

            1. Herb Lyceum, Gibbet and an apple orchard all sound splendid - and probably more $ than the couple can spend. Groton also may be too far, will have to check it out.

              Ill check out the others. thanks!

              1. Woo jung is great but cant fit that many people.
                Mango Grill is horrible and usually empty, dont know how they are still around.
                Bamboo is ok for americanized/pricey chinese/sushi.
                Daniellas is the worst.. Better off going to market basket and buying some frozen burritos and microwaving them, seriously.
                Old timers is a dive/biker sort of bar unless its changed since i have been there.
                Thirty one main has good food but the worst service you will ever experience in your life.
                Bull Run tap room is ok. Nice people. average/passable food.Very old tavern atmosphere
                Il Forno is just weird. I dont get the place. Not a fan...
                The others i dont know.

                Maybe look at what catering options there are at the Fruitland museum in Harvard.
                Also the Nashoba Winery in Bolton
                Gibbet Hill Groton.

                Bull Run Restaurant
                RR 2 Box A, Shirley, MA 01464

                Mango Grill
                38 Littleton Rd, Ayer, MA 01432

                3 Replies
                1. re: hargau

                  Fruitlands is a great idea. The Cast Iron Kitchen in Maynard does catering there now and their food is usually pretty good.

                  1. re: Kat

                    I went to a wedding at Fruitlands museum and it was great. I'm guessing it was expensive and beyond the range. I'm sticking to my Apple orchard idea. There are many in the area. i think a late afternoon early evening rental would not be pricey (but haven;t checked) and you could cater it inexpensively. For my pre-wedding party, we got takeout from Blue Ribbon and that was thoroughly enjoyed.

                    1. re: gourmaniac

                      Also might look into Tower Hill Botanical Garden rental

                2. I think Sprigs is great. If you inquire about a buy-out and tell them your needs wants and price point my bet is that they will be able to cater to your specific needs at a reasonable price.

                  1. Daniela's - Food is not too good but the space would probably be big enough.
                    Woo Jung - Food is great, but it is really small and you would probably have to rent the whole place to fit your party, even then it might not be big enough.
                    Bolton Roadhouse - Food was not at all memorable, went once and never returned, but I think I do recall a function space back when it was an Italian place.
                    Great Brook Farms - Good sandwiches, does a lot of take out, I have heard BBQ is good, it has a small area for sitting near a fireplace, but it's really a take-out /coffeehouse kind of place, it doesn't have a lot of tables.
                    Chloe's - Food is usually OK and the room and bar are nice in the evening, but they don't have separate function space and 40 people would take up probably half of the dining area.
                    The Outlook - I have seen the Tiki Bar, it is outside by the parking lot. It seems seasonal, don't know if it is open in the fall. The Outlook itself is a nice, sort of 70s ski lodge-esque space, big, never ate there.
                    Devens Grill - Food is average American burger-type fare, there is an outdoor patio as well.
                    Crossroads - Do not eat here. The last time I visited, I was served raw chicken, seared on the outside, but completely pink, wet and raw on the inside. And that was the third time there was an issue with the food, never went back.
                    Someone else suggested Bull Run in Shirley, that is a good suggestion for a group. I can't think of any good sushi in the immediate area, unfortunately. You mentioned that the couple like ethnic, what about Monsoon on Rt 2A in Acton? It is Indian and the food is pretty good (not gourmet Indian, but good). The restaurant is in an old Pizza Hut building, but inside it is nicely decorated.

                    1. Gibbet Hill in Groton. Sprigs is also good. The rest of the places are where you go when you just don't feel like cooking.

                      1. I have lived in the Harvard area for 40 years. The choice of restaurants is slim!!! My suggestion would be to pick from these three:

                        1)Bolton Winery (I recently had my rehearsal dinner here) Excellent.
                        2)Fruitlands Museum (I would highly recommend) I had my wedding reception here. Spectacular view!!!
                        3)Gibbet Groton (separate room upstairs which is great for a large group)

                        Mango Grill NO AWFUL
                        Crossroads (has gone down hill and there is no room for a large party)
                        Old Timers: Too pubby. No atmosphere
                        Bamboo: Americanized chinese food.
                        Bull Run maybe (havent been in years. Old school newenglandy tavern)

                        Bull Run Restaurant
                        RR 2 Box A, Shirley, MA 01464

                        Mango Grill
                        38 Littleton Rd, Ayer, MA 01432

                        Old Timer Restaurant
                        155 Church St, Clinton, MA 01510