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Racking my brain for son's 16th bday dinner w/friends-loud, fun atmosphere & pile of dude food...

I'm trying to plan a birthday dinner for my son, who turns 16, and a group of his friends, 8-10 total. Looking for a place that takes reservations, noise isn't an issue, and food is serious grub for teen boys(a set menu would be ideal). We are in Culver City, can drive a bit.

The only thing popping into my head so far is Baby Blues bbq in WeHo- perfect pile of food set menu for the boys & can accommodate large groups in a loud atmosphere. Is there anything else similar in style appropriate for the occasion, preferably closer in location? Doesn't have to be limited to bbq. Burgers, Mexican etc...

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  1. You don't mention a budget.... Is Fogo de Chao too pricey? How about a Korean BBQ or AYCE place? I really like Parks BBQ and know they take reservations.

    Only other places I can think of on the westside at the moment do NOT take reservations. My only advice would be to go early or when they open:
    Plan Check
    UMAMIcatessan ( I realize it is downtown...)

    7 Replies
    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

      Fogo de Chao would be amazing except it's out of my budget, ideally @ $25pp. AYCE could work, i'm not very familiar with that type of restaurant. I had considered Gyu-kaku, but quickly dismissed the thought (sweet boys, but 16 y.o. jackass loving boys nonetheless).

      Husband & I were just talking about A-frame. The patio could be perfect for the boys, husband & I at a safe distance inside...

      Thanks for the suggestions!

      1. re: willworkforcheese

        Speaking of patios, how about the Counter in Hollywood?

        1. re: ipsedixit

          If I could avoid a trip to Hollywood with a car full of boys, my night would be all the more better.

          1. re: willworkforcheese


            How about EK, Sazon or Metro Cafe? All in Culver City.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I haven't tried these places. They look tasty, but a bit low key for the occasion.

              Thanks for the ideas, though!

              1. re: ipsedixit

                respectfully disagree with the recommendation of Metro Cafe for this purpose even though i LOVE LOVE LOVE their food.
                1) it is a very small space which imho is unsuitable for a potentially loud, rowdy, group of teens.
                2) menu is not oriented towards willworkforcheese's needs
                3) cost will exceed budget.

              2. re: willworkforcheese

                the Counter in El Segundo Plaza also has a patio.
                plenty of 16-year-old-boy food at reasonable prices.

                i doubt that they take reservations, though.

        2. Wurstkuche Venice would be perfect. I asked my son who is the same age and that's where he would want to go with his friends and they will take reservations for groups of 12 or more (plus it's well under your budget even if everyone has 2 sausages each).

          2 Replies
          1. re: wienermobile

            Wurstkuche is great. My only concern is that we'd be in & out in 40 minutes.

            These are all good ideas. My son will have final say, so please keep 'em coming!

            1. re: willworkforcheese

              To extend the evening just make a stop after dinner at Sweet Rose Creamery on the way home.

              or Coolhaus.

          2. No reservations but you could all get in line and do 800 Degrees.

            and end the night at Stan's donuts or Ditty Riese (or both).

            4 Replies
            1. re: wienermobile

              This sounds really fun! We haven't been to 800 Degrees yet. How's the seating situation? Thinking they won't be able to sit together.

              1. re: willworkforcheese

                Depends on what time you go...if its near a peak meal time, probably not, as I hear it has a giant line most of the time. But we visited at 5 pm on a recent weekday, and the place was almost empty. There was already a long line at Diddy Reise's though, at that same time.

                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  We could do a 5pm dinner, but it would be on a Saturday. Not sure how the crowds are on weekends, but this is my favorite idea so far. This or Plan Check/Blockheads Sawtelle crawl would make for a lively evening!

                  1. re: willworkforcheese

                    Also consider parking in both areas.... Don't know how many vehicles you are taking.

                  1. The menu for 26 Beach intrigues & horrifies me...

                    Yard House is farther than i'd like to venture, prefer to stay westside.

                    Bucca di Beppo sounds like a possible option.

                    I like the idea of Westwood & Sawtelle, walking for ice cream sammies/shave ice after dinner. Unfortunately, 800 Degrees couldn't accommodate our group. Any other ideas around that area?

                    For convenience, Kay n Dave's is within walking distance from our house & could easily accommodate our large group, but i've never eaten there.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: willworkforcheese

                      If you like typical Mexican, Kay & Dave's will not satisfy.... No flavor at all.....

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                        Thanks for the warning! I knew there was a reason why we've never been.

                        1. re: willworkforcheese

                          kay 'n dave's claim to fame, imho, is centered around their margaritas and tequila--not their food.
                          not what you want for a 16 year old's birthday.

                    2. I did my 16yo Son's birthday at Dave and Busters they gave them a private room. The table that the food was served on converted into a pool table, and they all got game cards. Minimum of 10 kids for the package.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Coribdx

                        We've had our fair share of game center parties, but I think that era has come to a close for my boy.

                        1. re: Coribdx

                          Dave & Busters is a good idea and the food is not bad at all. I have done many a party there but just know it is a distance. The 3 locations in our area are Arcadia, Orange and Irvine ( I like the Irvine location because it is at the the Irvine Spectrum and there is lots to see and do there).

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            Dave & Busters is a good idea and the food is not bad at all.

                            Not bad at all ... compared to what? Chuck E Cheese? Chili's?

                            Food is pretty wretched, but it is a suitable atmo for a teenage b-day party.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Not bad at all ... compared to what? Chuck E Cheese? Chili's?
                              Yes, who else has a Mountain O' Nachos

                        2. How about Monte Alban (on Santa Monica Blvd near Bundy)? Excellent Oaxacan food & likely to be a fun place for your group.
                          Korean bbq is also a good option, but it sounds like you don't want to go that far east (Koreatown). The closest would probably be Genwa, which is more midtown (Wilshire near La Brea, an easy drive fr: Culver City); my son has gone to a couple of teen boy b-day dinners there and it sounds like they were very successful.

                          1. Do you mean you're looking for a place where the noise that you're party will generate won't be an issue?

                            Versailles? Food is hardly gourmet, but there's plenty of it, it's a loud and relatively jovial environment, and there should be plenty of meat at a reasonable cost. C&O Trattoria (maybe your son and his friends will like singing "That's Amore")?

                            There's also a branch of The Counter in Santa Monica, no?

                            I also think Plan Check (esp on the patio) would probably be a good but don't know if you'll exceed your budget (esp if the boys are hungry)....

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ilysla

                              +1 versailles.


                              gloria's cafe

                            2. I had my son's party at Hooters. His friends loved it. The food was fun. The noise was no problem and the waitresses were so sweet to the boys.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jgilbert

                                if you go to hooters, be sure the other boys' parental units are OK with this.
                                (don't want you to be blindsided if one of the kids has prudish parents)

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  Hooters has an undeserved reputation. Its not a strip club. The servers at Hot Dog on a Stick at the mall show about as much skin as they do at Hooters. People need to chill.

                              2. He does like the Counter & parking wouldn't be an issue with 2 cars. Maybe a bit too business as usual though.

                                Oaxacan style Mexican isn't really his thing, but he's never met a fish taco he didn't like.

                                Hooters is an interesting rec. No doubt they'd get a kick out of it, no way in hell i'm going to ask the other moms to take their sons there. He can go himself when he can drive/pay.

                                A lot of good options here! Will confer with boy later tonight.

                                1. Not the most chowish of venues, but Barney's Beanery might be fun for the lads.

                                  Or perhaps Swingers?

                                  Both have varied enough menus to please most dude-fooders. Decor and ambiance and noise-level would seem to fit the bill as well.

                                  (Not sure on how either joint handles reservations, if at all.)

                                  1. Does your son have a favorite restaurant? I remember having clear opinions about what was good and where was cool at 16. My 10-yr-old nephew has opinions about where he likes to eat (sushi and dumpling purveyors top the list). I remember one of the best parts of birthdays was finally getting to choose what *I* wanted. I know it's a whole other ball of wax when you're paying and planning, but just sayin...

                                    1. How about Lucky Strike Bowling? Trendy bowling with teen type food (at adult prices). :) There's BJ's Brewery in Westwood - seems like it would be a good teen hangout.

                                      1. Thanks for all the great recs, guys! After advising him of all these options, my son likes the Plan Check/Blockheads Sawtelle idea best. I figure if we go early enough, say by 5:30 on a Saturday, parking shouldn't be too killer & hopefully our group can be seated in a timely manner.