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Family Get-together - Andover, Stoneham, Woburn, Burlington, Billerica, Lowell areas

I would like to host a very casual family get-together on a Sunday in July somewhere around the above areas. I would like it to feel like a house party. I would use my own house, but I live in New Jersey and want to host a party for my extended family in the Andover area. I am thinking an Open House Sunday Brunch type function would be good. There will be approximately 20 to 30 people of all ages, including children. I would not expect all of them to be there the whole time. I want this to be nice, but want to keep it reasonably priced. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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  1. Palmer's in Andover may fit the bill for you.

    1. One option is to take out subs (cold and hot) from Andover Deli, take them home and cut them up (or better yet, have the deli cut them up) My sister did this and it was a big success. Their sub rolls are really soft making them easy to eat. Another option (depending on how adventurous your family is) would be to take out a big assortment of dimsum from New China Pearl in Woburn, maybe supplemented by a few dishes or a Peking duck or two.

      1. i think barley's China Pearl suggestion is a great one. It is a very big place and they could likely put you in your own room or section of a room. The main din rm has lots of windows. People get very excited about dim sum; it's a great atmosphere for a celebration, and I think your family would remember it fondly.

        1 Reply
        1. re: opinionatedchef

          Thanks. I never thought of dimsum and I personally love it. I will have to see what kinds of rooms they have as we will have some small children. Would be nice if they had an indoor and outdoor area so the children could play outside. And, no, I do not want McDonald's.

          1. We have had the identical situation and have gone to Polcari's on Rt 1 (Saugus?) twice. Our group included 15-20 aged 8 to 80. The seating is open, the service was exceptional and especially kid-friendly. I'm sure the one in Woburn would be similar. It is affordable, the food is decent, but in this case the comfort level is what you need.
            Bacci's would be a good choice, too as it is very comfortable and accommodating but check their capacity for 20-30 people.
            Am I the only one who has had awful food at China Pearl? Twice. If I am the exception, then it is an excellent option, too.
            Good Luck!

            1. I'll throw out Flatbread on the Bedford/Burlington line. Good pizza and salads, open space and casual. Kids like to watch the pizzas being made and the flames in the wood-fired ovens.

              1. If Chinese food would be acceptable I would suggest Szechuan Garden in Woburn. The restaurant is in an old historic colonial house right off Rte 95/128. They have a very nice room on the second floor that would easily accomodate your party. The manager is very open to putting a menu together that would appeal to wide range of tastes. They of course feature Szechuan style dishes but they can also do all the more common things that even children would like. It is also quite affordable. I have hosted numerous business functions there and have always come away feeling good about the food and the service.

                7 Replies
                1. re: RoyRon

                  If you really want an open house with people coming and going, and being able to stay for longer than a restaurant usually occurs for, and would prefer to do it at home if you lived here, then you might try having a party in a suite type of hotel room. We had people coming in from all over and had a gathering like that and brought in food and with the kitchen and living room area, and the kids hung out on computers in the bedrooms and outside by the pool and it really served the purpose. They even brought us lots of extra chairs from their other hotel. If you were missing the cooking yourself aspect, i suppose you could spend Sat. nite there and cookl up a storem.. Also, I know Bacci in Stoneham and Calititris in Danvers have separate rooms for family gatherings available.

                  1. re: chompie

                    @chompie...Do you know where I could rent a suite like that with pool access in the area? How do you arrange to have so many people at the pool who are not registered guests? That sounds like a great idea if it can be worked out.

                    1. re: oceans

                      We were at Towne Place Suites (by Marriott) at 114 and Rte 1 in Danvers which may not be close enough to Andover for you, but actually might be ok since 114 goes to Andover and it is halfway between some of those other towns you listed. Or they probably have other ones in other towns. They also have a Residence Inn across the street (where they got us chairs). They were extremely nice and accomodating. I have to say though, that unfortunately this was a gathering for after a funeral, so i dont know if the circumstance was impetus for their hospitality or if they are always like that. It was also a couple years ago, but I doubt much changed. I imagine if you tell them this is a family reunion, etc, so they know its not just a teen age wild party, that should help. We also arranged it in person so dont know if that helped for them to see that we didnt look wild. The pool wasnt an issue at all, and i think we asked rather than assumed it was okay to use. I dont know if anyone actually used it.. This place felt like a little apartment with private entrance. Theres also more hotel style suites like Spring Hill, (i think( run by Hilton and they have indoor pool, but they are smaller rooms..
                      If you set something up and need food ideas, come back here! We got Excellent deli sandwiches delivered. Oh, you could also try to check out places near you to see them, and ask them all your questions before you call the places up here. I always find it good to ask a bunch of questions at a different location of a chain to get the idea of what they do, and the go do it at another one, knowing what to expect before i go..

                      1. re: chompie

                        Thank you so much chompie. I greatly appreciate this.

                        1. re: oceans

                          As an Aquatics Instructor, as well as a foodie, my concern is children, adults not necessarily watching the kids, alcohol, and a hotel pool. Typically, there is no lifeguard on the premises. If you use the pool, I would recommend hiring a lifeguard, and depending on the size of the party, you may need 2.

                          1. re: CookieLee

                            Thank you Cookie. I agree, even though there will not be much alcohol if any. I was thinking of a brunch. Several cousins are lifeguards. If we go the pool route I will work something out with them or hire someone.

                2. My cousin offered her house and yard for this gathering!!! It will be perfect. Now I need to find a casual caterer. I want good food nicely presented. I plan to stick with cold foods only, like salads and sandwiches, etc. I am looking at Roche Brothers. Has anyone had any experience with Roche Brothers? Any other suggestions for casual caterers who will deliver to the Andover area?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: oceans

                    We used Whole Foods in Andover to cater a business lunch at our office: cold cut wraps, grilled veggies, salads, etc. We ordered for a specific amount of people and it was much more food than they could eat and very tasty, so it was a better value than you'd think.