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Suggestions for Large Group in St Paul?

We're coming in from out-of-town in July, and plan to host a gathering of 25-35 college students for dinner in St Paul. Please provide suggestions for places that could accommodate a group of that size that includes vegetarians and kosher needs.

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  1. What's the budget overall / per head? Heartland springs to mind, they've certainly got the space and can adjust most things to most diets.

    1. I feel like I'm always recommending this place, but I'm going to do it anyway...

      Salut on Grand has private dining areas and can definitely accommodate a group that size. I don't know about their kosher offerings, but vegetarian they can definitely do. They have special buffet set-ups and private dining menus, as well.

      1. Other potential options to explore:

        Downtowner

        http://www.downtownerwoodfire.com/?pa...

        Muffuletta

        http://www.muffuletta.com/wine_room.html

        Maybe Chatterbox Pub? The food is a little over the top in terms of being oversized and overly-sauced, but it might fit the college budget:

        http://www.chatterboxpub.net/menu/ban...

        Link to some other good suggestions (Mancinis and Axels would probably have limited options for vegetarians): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8046...

        ~TDQ

        1. Making the assumption the "college" qualifier applies to budget. I'd recommend Ngon Bistro. A bit upscale, reasonable prices, and showcases a cuisine at which the Twin Cities excels.

          1. I think you're going to be very hard-pressed to find a restaurant in the metro that can handle kosher needs. Cecil's probably is, but I wouldn't take 25-35 college students there all at once. I'd say Salut and Ngon are good options, aside from the kosher issue.

            1. I've known people to address kosher requirements by choosing a cuisine that doesn't use dairy.

              Little Szechuan on University Ave. doesn't have a private room, but does have several large round tables and could probably accommodate 25-35 people ordering at the same time better than many other spots will.

              http://littleszechuan.com/

              6 Replies
              1. re: KTFoley

                Interesting about the no-dairy thing.

                If all else fails, I'll bet M-Street Cafe at the St. Paul Hotel can accomodate. Of course, it will have that hotel restaurant feel, but I'll bet they are used to handling groups of all kinds. http://www.mstcafe.com/

                ~TDQ

                1. re: KTFoley

                  I'm not Jewish, but doesn't being kosher also require that the animal be slaughtered in a particular way? i think there's more to it than just not eating dairy. Then again, I'm not an expert.

                  1. re: Seige

                    yes Seige, you are right. Not only are there specific ways of slaughtering, but there is no mixing of meat and milk foods. Milk foods are fine if no meat is included in the dish. Fish can be eaten if it has scales and fins, but shellfish is not. Kosher foods can be dairy, and if only dairy are fine. Keep the meat out of the meal. Veggie is ok too. Pizza is also great. How about Luce? They have veggie pizzas with a variety of off beat toppings for veggies and vegans.

                    1. re: docfood

                      There are many degrees to which people of faith practice the strictures of their faith, and so there are many degrees to which people observe kosher in their everyday lives ... particularly outside their own homes.

                      I'm no expert, just sharing observations of my acquaintances who take a very practical approach to preventing the mixing of meat and dairy when there's not a fully kosher kitchen nearby. Some stick to dairy-free cuisines while others rely on meat-free restaurants, either of which gives some reassurance that the surfaces, utensils, dishes, etc. have not been used for both.

                      Deeper details or more nuanced debates might be found on Chowhound's own Kosher board ... there's always something to learn around here somewhere!

                      1. re: KTFoley

                        The major thing to be learned from discussions of kashrut is that there are catch-alls. I've known people who would eat non-meat items from a restaurant that serves meat, so long as that item was served cold (there is a moderately pervasive belief that the illicit transference is less of an issue with cold foods versus hot ones). As seige mentions, meat is generally stickier than dairy because it requires more conditions to be met to qualify as kosher. even some of the more observant/strict folks i know would be ok at a restaurant that served no meat at all. Cuisines which do not include dairy overlap heavily with cuisines which include large quantities of shellfish and pork, which could pose a bigger issue than cross contamination (in the minds of some of those to whom it matters.)

                        In order that this post somewhat answer the question posed, what about Brasa? The veggie/kosher approved items may not be what the place is known for, but they are still pretty tasty, and i could see the space working for a group of that size.

                2. Not sure about kosher items, but I think Happy Gnome would serve you and your group well.

                  http://thehappygnome.com/