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Worcester, MA: rehearsal dinner suggestions?

Happy New Year, foodie friends! Here's the challenge: 70 people; Friday night; informal.

I'm looking for a place to hold a **sit-down** rehearsal dinner in downtown Worcester on a Friday night in June 2012. We plan to invite about 75-85 out-of-towners and believe that all of them will attend. The wedding will be formal, so we'd love to have a more relaxed/informal rehearsal dinner. As well, my fiance's parents are generously footing the bill and we would prefer that they not go broke. I think that they're open to most types of food except sushi and Indian.

Is a $30-or-less per person meal (appetizers, dinner, drinks, maybe dessert) a possibility? We would also love to have one room that could fit all 70--we don't all have to sit at one table, but we're having trouble finding a space that will allow all of us to sit in a single room or section of a restaurant. We visited Nuovo--it had room for enough of us but was pricier than we'd hoped; my fiance also put the kibosh on Ceres Bistro. One Eleven Chop House, Via Italian Table, The Sole Proprietor, Northworks Bar & Grille, and Peppercorns are all too small.

I'd appreciate any help or suggestions. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Friday is atough night to take over a room that size, and you may have to settle for less to accomodate but you may want to contact somwhere downtown(financial district) that doesn't have a busy dinner service. Dino;s has good sized room they use for functions or El Basha on Park Ave,

    8 Replies
    1. re: trufflehound

      I will say based on past experience recently, I would nix Ceres and Sole. Via would be nice I am sure. I cannot speak to the others. Is Romaine's in Northboro too far?

      1. re: phelana

        Northboro is a little further than we were hoping to travel, but we'll certainly give it a look. Thanks so much for the suggestions!

      2. re: trufflehound

        How about Ritual on Main Street? Their food is wonderful and it is a fairly small place (one room) that they might let you do a private party in.

        1. re: trufflehound

          I have to agree that Friday nights in June might be tough as grad parties, rehearsal dinners are very popular. Most of those places are kind of the high side per person but you might to check out Coral Seafood, Buca de Beppo, Dino's,Ritual as someone metioned,Peppe's does do private parties for the night. If you looking for downtown TPK/Citizen(high side), Vina Bene(low side).Just curious why so many people for a rehersal dinner?

          1. re: oldschoolshrewsburyST

            I would not recommend TPK/Citizen. Been 3 times and they miss pretty much on all accounts. I want to love the place....nice atmosphere and great concept. Execution is missing though

            1. re: Science Chick

              I have been to a private party at the Citizen/TPK. It wasn't all that bad ,could be much better. I was thinking for CBNewbie location (downtown Worcester), size ( in which they all acn fit), and price (which might be on the high side but could be negotiable ). CBNewbie did say they went go to Nuovo (Shrewsbury St.) which in my opinion has awful food, atmosphere and staff and that were pricey for CBNewbie . At that time of year, restaurants with that seat capacity are already booked and the good quality (food/service) tend to be on the high side for which CBNewbie is "kinda" on a budget. My suggestion is to try the restaurants that I mention before ,food/service might not be the best but size/price might work. My other suggestion is to have a small dinner for just the wedding party/immediate family then rent out the citizen (wine bar) or KJ Barrons( wine tasting room )for a more relax social gathering for 70+ people that might serve cocktails/horderves. That is a good amount of people for just a rehearsal dinner where food and service might be compromised because of price.

              Good luck! and Congrats

              1. re: oldschoolshrewsburyST

                Thank you very much, all, for your suggestions and recommendations!

            2. re: oldschoolshrewsburyST

              Hi Old School:
              The reason we're having so many folks is that my future in-laws want to invite ALL out-of-towners, not just the wedding party. Most people attending the wedding are from out of town!

          2. Has anyone suggested Maxwell Silverman's? They have a big private room on the top floor...though it may be several smaller rooms combined. We went to a work event there once and thought it was pretty good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChinaCat

              Had one of the worst meals in memory at Maxwell's. Lobster overcooked to the point of dissolving into nothing!