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Rehearsal Dinner

lukshen Sep 3, 2012 08:12 PM

I am looking for a venue for a rehearsal dinner on July 6, 2013. There will be approximately 60 people. I am looking for a private room in Essex County, not too far from West Orange. This is a Saturday night and many restaurants will not allow us to reserve. I looked at Sweet Basil's, but their private room only seats 40, Martini's, in Millburn, only 50. It would be best to have a restaurant without a liquor license do that we can bring in our own. I really am looking for a casual menu, not a mini wedding.
Thank you for any and all suggestions.

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  1. b
    bifpocaroba RE: lukshen Sep 4, 2012 10:04 AM

    Cloverleaf, Caldwell
    Pal's Cabin, W.Orange
    Rose Mediteranean , Caldwell has an outdoor patio http://www.rosemediterranean.com/

    You can try Frank Anthony's in Verona, good place and there are times they will close if there is an event.


    2 Replies
    1. re: bifpocaroba
      lukshen RE: bifpocaroba Sep 6, 2012 10:01 AM

      I was thinking of somewhere a little nicer than a pizzeria, Rose Med. looks nice for dinner, but the menu is similiar to the wedding's, Pal's isn't what it used to be...
      Please keep thinking, thank you

      1. re: lukshen
        bifpocaroba RE: lukshen Sep 7, 2012 04:51 AM

        I didn't give you a pizzeria.

    2. Curlz RE: lukshen Sep 7, 2012 05:58 AM

      A few thoughts:
      -The back room of Stamna in Bloomfield (right on the Montclair border) for fantastic REAL Greek food that can be served family style, and is BYO. I've done a few parties there and always get rave reviews, but you'll have to check to see if they can put 60 in seats.

      -Bar Cara, also in Bloomfield (a block from Stamna) is another possibility, but again, you'd have to investigate whether or not they have a big enough space. (not BYO)

      -Chengdu 23 in Cedar Grove (just over the mountain behind Montclair) is authentic, excellent Szechuan, and BYO--but they'd probably have to close the place for you. Again, worth an ask...!

      -I'm pretty sure that there's a party space above Egan and Sons/Halcyon (also in Montclair), but it's not BYO

      4 Replies
      1. re: Curlz
        Bosmer RE: Curlz Sep 11, 2012 08:08 AM

        What is REAL Greek food?

        1. re: Curlz
          bifpocaroba RE: Curlz Sep 11, 2012 12:49 PM

          I can vouch for you on that one Curlz, Stamna is excellent.

          1. re: bifpocaroba
            Curlz RE: bifpocaroba Sep 11, 2012 06:01 PM

            Thanks, Bif! Bosmer, perhaps the word I should have used was AUTHENTIC. Have a look at their menu and maybe you'll see what I mean. I've had Greek people tell me there are items on there that they've only ever seen on their grandmother's table. In Greece. The food is wonderful and I love the vibe of the place; lots of fun with a group!

            1. re: Curlz
              Bosmer RE: Curlz Sep 12, 2012 05:40 AM

              I have never dined at Stamna and was not trying to discredit it in any way.

              The menu reminds me of Varka, Axia and former Nisi. I look forward to going there.

              I just don't quite get the "real" or "authentic" part. Can you link me to any non-authentic menus in the area for me to compare?

        2. Angelina RE: lukshen Sep 8, 2012 11:07 AM

          This is just a suggestion...I recently went to a baby shower, which was more like a great party because it was a Sat. night, coed, and no kids!! Anyway, my friends rentoed out the space at Caldwell Flowerland.


          You have to bring in your own caterer, but this room was just amazing!! Flowers everywhere, they had great music playing (Thanks to my friends selection on his IPOD) the lighting was perfect, and the place smelled divine!! I don't know how you feel about this, but people are STILL talking about that space, and the party was last December!! The room really transforms into quite a beautiful and eye appealing space!

          FYI..there were close to 60 people at the party!

          10 Replies
          1. re: Angelina
            Curlz RE: Angelina Sep 8, 2012 12:32 PM

            I can't lie...as a guest, that's a nightmare for me b/c of allergies! I'm sure it looked great, though...

            1. re: Curlz
              Quine RE: Curlz Sep 8, 2012 12:47 PM

              Then any wedding for you would create the same issue.

              1. re: Quine
                Curlz RE: Quine Sep 8, 2012 02:38 PM

                And some certainly have! I'm just saying that if *I* received an invitation to sit in the middle of a flower shop, *I* might think twice about going.

                1. re: Curlz
                  lukshen RE: Curlz Sep 8, 2012 07:00 PM

                  Thank you for all of your suggestions. Curlz, I really like Chengdu 23, It's the best Chinese restaurant in our area. I'm in the minority though. I'll look into Bar Cara, although BYO would save a bundle. Any positive thoughts on the private room at Pal's?

                  1. re: lukshen
                    Curlz RE: lukshen Sep 9, 2012 06:22 AM

                    The only thought I have about Pal's is that I don't understand why anyone under the age of 75 goes there. Really. OLD. AND. TIRED. I've *never* understood the appeal, even when people from the area explained that they grew up going there. Maybe it was a thrill in the '60s?

                    And I can't believe it, but I mixed up my Chengdus! 23 is behind Willowbrook (also excellent, and would also have to close most of their dining room to accommodate you). Chengdu 1 is in Cedar Grove.

                    Personally, I think you could accommodate the adventurous and less-so at either Chengdu or at Stamna, but I'm worried about Stamna's back room being too tight for 50+ bodies.

                    Still thinking and will let you know if I have any other thoughts...

                    1. re: Curlz
                      lukshen RE: Curlz Sep 9, 2012 01:07 PM

                      Thank you, Curlz, I appreciate your help. I've been to both 1 and 23. I think I prefer 23. The thing about Pal's is that the ages in our group go from 25 to 85 and not everyone has the excellent and adventurous taste that you and I do.

                      1. re: lukshen
                        Picnicchef RE: lukshen Sep 9, 2012 01:14 PM

                        Pal's has its good points. Nostalgia for one. Mushroom soup (although not as good as it used to be). It is a great place for people that just want lunch or dinner, not a dining experience. And, a rehersal dinner is much more about the company, the toasts and the anticipation of the following day than the food.

                        1. re: Picnicchef
                          bifpocaroba RE: Picnicchef Sep 10, 2012 06:36 AM

                          Although Pals may be dated in terms of decor they still have great burgers and casual food and I'm under the impression that is what lukshen is looking for. There is a party room downstairs that is always being used and the place is always crowded so it looks like they are doing something right.

                          1. re: bifpocaroba
                            Curlz RE: bifpocaroba Sep 10, 2012 01:46 PM

                            Sorry, Bif, but Olive Garden and McDonald's are always packed too...I just can't subscribe to that as the reason to go ANYWHERE!

                            1. re: Curlz
                              bifpocaroba RE: Curlz Sep 11, 2012 08:00 AM

                              It's obvious you dont like Pals and thats fine but to compare a place thats been there for 80 years and is crowded nightly that has a loyal following to a chain is absurd. Sorry Pals is not a shesi joint and it's decor is outdated but they have great burgers, steaks and chops. The person asked for a place around WO that is casual and that fits the bill.

          2. n
            nizza RE: lukshen Sep 9, 2012 01:38 PM

            Here's a suggestion. I have never been, but, have heard and read good things about them

            Fitzgerald's 1928
            13 Herman Street,
            Glen Ridge


            According to their website they do have a party/event room and it looks like a nice place Maybe some one on the board has been there.

            1. l
              LIV286 RE: lukshen Sep 10, 2012 02:12 PM

              Spanish Pavillion in Harrison

              1. l
                LIV286 RE: lukshen Sep 10, 2012 02:12 PM

                Above and Giorgios in South Orange may have private rooms. Other possibilities..Librettis in Orange, Basilica in Millburn, Serenade in Chatham, not my favorite but Calabrias in Livingston, and Nero's in Livingston have private rooms but maybe too small.

                1. tommy RE: lukshen Sep 10, 2012 02:33 PM

                  Not sure if they can accomodate that size, but you might check out Hat City Kitchen. http://www.hatcitykitchen.com/

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tommy
                    lukshen RE: tommy Sep 10, 2012 08:01 PM

                    I love all the thoughtful answers, thank you. I got a quote from Above. The food cost is ok, but consumption bar is the only option they have for liquor. I'm afraid I'll pay so much more for drinks than dinner. Not a fan of libretti's or Calabria. Hat City has good chicken and ribs, but parking could be an issue, if there's a private room, it's probably up a flight of stairs. I've had a small family thing at Nero's, I'll call and see they have room for us. Thanks everyone, keep the ideas coming.

                    1. re: lukshen
                      MRG58 RE: lukshen Sep 12, 2012 06:33 AM

                      Have you considered Nicola in Totowa? Excellent Italian BYOB. They have a room that would accommodate your group and are just off Rt 80, not far from West Orange.

                      Nicola Ristorante
                      650 Union Blvd
                      Totowa, NJ

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