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hosting a dinner for a memorial service

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My husband's uncle passed away and we'd like to plan a dinner to celebrate him. We don't have a head count, I'm guessing it'll be 20 people. Regional food would be nice and a decent wine list. Not super loud so we can hear each others toasts. Private room not necessary but an option. Thanks for the assist.

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  1. Maybe you can provide some parameters? Cost? Type of foods you'd like (or like to avoid)? Location?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jbontario

      American regional food. Cost doesn't matter. Near the Gold Coast is most preferable. He was from the Chicago suburb area, loved wine and is a bit traditional. I'd say the most important feature is that the room is comfortable, the food is good (doesn't have to be great, leaning towards traditional, nothing like Alinea), the noise level isn't ear shattering (The Publican and Girl and the Goat are too loud) and they can accommodate a large group. I'd say unfortunately for me, food is the least important for this meal.

      1. I'm sorry for your loss. Dinner is a great way to celebrate someone's life.

        First and foremost, I really think you should look for a private room, so that your guests can decide on the tenor of the occasion, make speeches if desired, etc, without worrying about nearby patrons in a shared dining room.

        There are two places you can check listings of private party rooms. One is Opentable, which has a page for all their restaurants, and you can use check boxes to filter the results based on the size of your party, location, etc: www.opentable.com/info/banquets.aspx?m=3

        The other is Lettuce Entertain You, a group of about 40 different restaurants in the Chicago area, in widely varying price categories. They have their own website and private party planners who can advise you on any of their venues: www.lettuceparties.com

        2 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          Thanks, nsxtasy and ferret for your suggestions. If the dinner ends up being a small group (6-8), can you offer some other suggestions? We're coming from all parts of the country so we'd love to be able to hear one another when catching up. Downtown/Loop, Gold Coast area. Cost isn't an issue. American, New American. Cocktail list as well as wine list.

          I'm trying to convince the other party members that we should go to The Aviary for a cocktail and toast my husband's uncle there since he enjoyed one of their cocktails tremendously when we were in Chicago visiting a couple weeks ago.

          Also - have you been to Storefront or The Savoy? Does either sound like they'd be an option? Or Trencherman?

          1. re: fromNYCto

            Many restaurants have smaller rooms that are perfect for 6-8 people, so I still wouldn't rule it out. Opentable lists the capacity for various private rooms in their restaurants in the link above. OTOH you may feel you don't need it for that size group, and that's fine too.

            I haven't been to the places you mention, so I can't help you there, sorry. I love Sable, which features amazing artisanal cocktails as well as the delicious food from Chef Heather Terhune. The menu is contemporary American in a small plates format, with items designed for easy sharing and many available in half-size portions. The food is bargain-priced, too. The room tends to be somewhat noisy, but not as loud as the Publican, Avec, Girl & the Goat, and a few others I could name. Places that specialize in cocktails tend to all be at least somewhat loud. Another place with creative cocktails is GT Fish, whose menu specializes in seafood small plates. I've been there several times and loved it each time, but I've also read mixed opinions here about it. It's slightly less noisy than Sable.