Need a restaurant for a soccer team in Raleigh
I'm team manager of a high school soccer team. We will be visiting Raleigh with approximately 35 people. I need to plan 2 team dinners at restaurants that can accomodate us. we do not want to pay extra for a banquet room and are ok with splitting into 2 groups. Not super expensive and somewhere teens will eat. Any suggestions? Our hotel is in the Crabtree mall area and our games are kind of all over that side of Raleigh.
Hmmmm that is a tall order you have on your hands.. The first thing that comes to mind is a place like Cheesecake factory in Crabtree, but I don't know if it would work out given that the mall is usually full of people. A lot of your choices may come down to timing.. like eating earlier or later than what would be normal.
Sawasdee Thai may be a good bet down the road from teh mall. It isn't a huge space but it hasn't been full the last few times I've been there. Coquette in North Hills Mall strikes me as another option that would have the space and be open spaced. The Pit in downtown Raleigh may be a good option for BBQ. If you want something local, but not so much trouble, do a call in to Lilly's Pizza and then pick it up and bring it back to your hotel. A sushi place that someone else can recommend may be a good option as well. The only one I can think of is Orchid (it is a sushi buffet but where they bring the sushi to you) but I don't know the space.
I am assuming you are wanting local food and not a readily available chain (minus my Cheesecake suggestion).
There is a place just a few min. drive N. of Crabtree Mall that would be a good fit. They should have the space, but I'd call ahead. Menu is moderate price with plenty of teen friendly foods and enough of a twist for the more adventurous.
I have not tried them yet, but 90% of the word of mouth reviews I've heard from friends who live or work nearby have been positive.
Relish Cafe & Bar (I don't think the bar aspect is the focal point)
This is a tough one and you have some good recommendations. I'm guessing you may be aiming for (or have to settle for) more passable / practical options than necessarily great local food or fine or ethnic cuisine. With that in mind, I offer a few thoughts that normally don't make it on Chowhound but might possibly help out some here because (1) they are a bit of the beaten path and/or otherwise are often not overly crowded, or (2) they may be used to large groups. To state the obvious, these are not necessarily the top dining picks in the area
1. Crabtree Taven on hill above the mall--food has not been great when I've been there but they are usually not that busy and have a lot of space and might be willing to work with you on a large group
2. Fat Daddy's for burgers and potatoes out on Highway 70 (i.e., Glenwood Ave) from the mall
3. If you are playing out toward CASL / WRAL soccer center, we often find the restaurants at Triangle Town Center Mall not as crowded as other local ones (e.g., all mostly chains but Twisted Fork which offers a wide choice and could be good carbo load--also there is a Moe's, Champs, California Pizza Kitchen and, of course, the food court inside the mall. There is also an On The Border mexican across from the mall that is sometimes less crowded than other choices in Raleigh proper or by Crabtree.
4. Also if you are out toward CASL / WRAL (or even if you are not) Casa Linga Italian has good pizza and pasta and a big buffet during lunch. They usually get a lot of business during soccer tournaments I think but last couple of times we've gone for dinner it has been fairly uncrowded. I find their food good.
5. Similar on the pasta / pizza kick, wonder whether you could work something out with Casa Carbone out Highway 70 (Glenwood) another local red sauce spot in the same area as Fat Daddy's just down from the mall--not sure how busy they usually are at dinner
6. Tobacco Road in Glenwood South area toward downtown from Crabtree--sports cafe concept with fairly good food and lots of tvs. Usually fairly busy but wonder if you could reserve a side of the restaurant and back room area for that large of a group
7. Chow--Sort of similar to Tobacco Road but out Creedmoor Road from Crabtree close to Relish mentioned above--burgers, pizza, sandwich by good local restaurant group; I think they may have a hard time handling that large of a group but you could always check and see
8. Draft--Similar to Chow and Tobacco Road and just down the street from TR; not sure how crowded they typically get at night but last time I went for lunch it was not at all crowded
9. The food court at Crabtree Valley Mall (as a last resort)
10. Although not exactly festive and probably more administration than you want but I wonder whether you might not actually come out cheaper overall trying to get a room at the hotel and having somebody cater a selection of different items
re: Guilty Gourmand
Two thoughts on the above post:
7) I've heard some very discouraging reviews from family memebers about Chow - along the lines of "I won't be going back."
11) If you're thinking about going out on Glenwood/70, you might consider Blinco's. It's a sports bar, but we've been taking our kid there (in both their old location and their current one) since she was a baby. Sports bar-type food and lots of space. Decent sandwiches and a good garbage plate (the owner is from upstate NY). It's only a little past Casa Carbone and Fat Daddy's.
Thanks Rockycat. That is sad to hear about Chow. I was there last a couple of weeks ago and, like always, I got a burger and found it good--certainly not great and nowhere near as good as Porters, etc. My wife is less fond than I am of the spot. Suspect that may have something to do with the fact that I'm the only one that partakes of the draft beer. In any event, I thought they did a reasonably good job with a big crowd last time as we happened to stumble in on trivia night.
I have never been to Blinco but I agree that is another good option.
Wanted to also amend my note on Crabtree Tavern (#1) above to say that although the food has not been anything particularly great or outstanding, it has been fine when I've been there and they do have a lot of space. It has been awhile since we've been though.
re: Guilty Gourmand
We (myself, aforementioned family member who didn't want to return, and some friends) gave Chow another try and I'm sorry to say that, at least as far as the food goes, we don't have anything good to say. The burgers were large and cooked as ordered but were entirely tasteless. Even though we could see many different toppings we couldn't taste much of anything. The meat itself was mostly devoid of flavor, too. For burgers, Wendy's across the parking lot would be a better choice. Even the apps were just meh.
On the other hand, those of us who partook of the draft beer selection had a better experience. The drinkers cycled through a number of 10 oz. glasses of more or less interesting selections. They were happier.
Bottom line, go for the beer, not the food.
It's been a while, but I thought the food at Vincents was terrible. Meanwhile, CHOW further up Creedmoor Rd was not so bad. Decent burgers. Good for teens. And CHOW is part of the Urban Food Group, the same folks that run Coquettes and Vivace -- 2 of my favorites.
Relish would be a great choice if they could accommodate the group. Don't remember seeing a separate dining room, but they are usually not too crowded.
Well, we have a reservation at Chow. The manager on the phone was great. He is giving us a private room and even has a system for doing bills- which with a team can sometimes be an issue for restaurants. I'll let you know how it goes!! In case anyone else is ever looking for the same thing I guess that several teams are going to Carolina Ale House- have no clue what the food is like there, but the man on the phone with them said they had a party of 100 and another of 50 so they couldn't add in another party of 30, but was very helpful nontheless.