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Bar Mitzvah Venues in CT

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Help! I'm looking for a not too expensive (whole budget--invitations, dj, site, catering, photography--is $10,000) place for reception and yummy food trucks and food carts for catering a daytime party. We're about half way between Danbury and Waterbury. The catch (besides the need to stick to a reasonably priced location)? Our son is OBSESSED with food trucks and wants a couple or a truck and cart (like Chez Leonard) to cater the party. I think it is an awesome idea and lots of fun, but it limits us to places that don't offer catering and has an accessible space for a truck to park. This rules out our temple (dedicated caterer plus food truck options make it hard to stick to kosher style rules of temple) and most catering halls. The other catch? He wants a place where he can do an activity--flag football, basketball, etc. We have about a year to settle on a place, so I'm starting to look now. I'd appreciate any and all suggestions--my local friends have not planned b'nai mitzvahs as of yet, so have no advice to offer.

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  1. Chowgirl,
    #1 Mazel Tov
    #2 what month will the celebration take place? This greatly affects the venue choice.

    If not in July or August, you should be able to rent a day camp or similar with a pavillion. Try Holiday Hill in Cheshire for example or some of the Y camps.

    I highly recommend the Big Green Pizza Truck as your food truck and general caterer for this kids oriented sports type party
    http://www.biggreentruckpizza.com/

    Even some of our town parks (Trumbull) can be rented for private events (check your local town). Similarly, private schools/colleges rent space.
    Don't forget VFW, Grange, Firehouses and local gun clubs as potential venues. It is apparent that your celebration need not be kosher so plan a party where non Jews do.
    If you rent such a space that does not cater, then hire the pizza truck, find and hire a local hot dog cart.

    Also, Try Roxanne's Gourmet Food Truck from Danbury, I've heard good things about her

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Roxanne...

    BTW< while it is helpful to give your dollar budget, without knowing how many guests it is of little use. 10K is more than enough for 50 and not nearly enough for 500 people

    2 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      Thanks, Bagelman. We have a guest list of around 100-125. I anticipate landing at just about 100. Keep in mind, though, the $10,000 includes all expenses, not just the site and catering.

      The party will be in mid June, so you have a great idea with rental of a day camp. There is one in Southbury and one in Monroe. I'd definitely like someplace that has a building but also outdoor space as I am worried about if it rains. I thought about the town park route, but I am worried about keeping park visitors (non-guests) from getting food from the trucks/cart as, at least at our two town parks, the pavilion is a little bit of a distance (not much but enough) that it would be hard to monitor. And, while keeping it kosher is not an issue (although can't bring myself to offer pork or shellfish at a bar mitzvah even if we eat it year round), there is some irony to be found in having it at a YMCA, right?

      Big Green Pizza Truck is on our list of possibilities as is Rocket Fine Foods (out of Torrington) and one out of Milford; the name escapes me, but the chef is the chef/owner at Biagio Osteria. I'll definitely check out Roxanne's, too, thanks. One of the things I am considering is using my cousin's house in Danbury. She has a beautiful, large, level lot with a great backyard for a tent and front yard for flag football and newcomb (summer camp game to go along with son's requested summer camp theme).

      Thanks again for all your suggestions. Keep them coming as you think of them! As I remember from some of your previous posts, you were in the catering business and have the insight I don't.

      PS. Have you (or any other Chowhounds) heard of Chez Lollipop in Ansonia? To extend the summer camp theme, we want to do a candy bar and call it the canteen.

      -----
      Bagelman
      14 Candlewood Lake Rd Ste 7, Brookfield, CT 06804

      1. re: chowgirl1

        If the Monroe camp you are considering is Camp Teepee, it has suitable pavillions and buildings in case of rain.

        I'd advise against your cousin's home. While the yard might be big enough for a tent and your cousin might be gracious enough to offer the home, the chances are it does not have adeqaute parking and bathroom facilities for 100 guests. I had my wedding at home and had 85 for a sitdown dinner, but we have 5 bathrooms and a private parking lot rented 1 block from home.

        I don't know about Chez lollipop, but in a thread about a year ago on the old New Englnd board, I answered a request with info about a Good Humour Truck that does private parties.

        If you keep the food geared towards the kids, have a pizza truck, hot dog cart, ice cream truck and set your own dessert tables it could be sucessful and reasonably priced. Last year we hired a local farmer who sells at the weekly farner's market in town to do a 'farmstand' fruit and melon desert bar at a BBQ we held and roasted his local corn as well (your affair will be too early in the season for this).

        Because it is before the true summer season, you also may be able to rent the recreation area at a local condo development. You have lots of phone calls to make, but you are starting in lots of time.

    2. Your son's demands make it really tough. Do you have a local JCC that can provide the activities he wants with enough room inside to plan a party, and space outside to park food trucks?

      1 Reply
      1. re: temilove

        Funny, I was thinking that her son's desires were tricky, but at least cheaper than some of the wild ones I've heard (or said no to).

      2. Having over a year to plan I would be concerned about a 12 year old changing his "obsessions"
        We all like to make our kids happy but remember your the parent and you need to think of the other 99 guests.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sakeandgin

          I would never not think of the guests, but just like a bride and groom make choices about their wedding, a bar mitzvah boy should be able to do the same within reason. His request for food trucks instead of traditional catering may make planning a little more challenging, but I actually think it is a neat idea and also can be a way to get really good food while staying in our budget. One of the food trucks we're considering has the kind of menu you'd find in many of the better restaurants that have opened over the last few years (Community Table, LeFarm--where I just enjoyed an amazing lunch today, etc.). We're not keeping up with the Goldbergs kind of people nor are our friends, and I know our friends and family, many self-identified foodies, will appreciate an interesting venue and approach to catering. I don't want a mini-wedding minus the bride; I want a celebration of our son and our faith, both of which are so very important to us.

          1. re: chowgirl1

            I know you are between Waterbury and Danbury, but take a weekday lunch ride tol both Hartford, along Bushnell park and the state office buildings. You will find many great food trucks of all ethnicities. As they mainlyb work weekdays, you probably would have np problem contracting your weekend celebration. Plus you'd have a great tasting experience.