Family Reunion Dinner
We are organizing a family reunion to be held in July. People will be coming from all over the United States. There will be between 60 and 100 people. I'd like to set up a banquet/dinner for one night at a place that has a fun atmosphere and that possibly represents midwest/Minnesota food and traditions (e.g. German, Scandanavia, etc.). The midwest food and traditions part isn't necessary...but the fun atmosphere is. Places I've already heard of are Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter in Stillwater and Gastauf's in northeast MN. How are these places? Any others?
Thanks all for your recommendations and information.
Sadly, the German food traditions in this region haven't translated to good German restaurants in the metro area. Avoid Gasthof Zur Gemutlicheit in NE Mpls unless your idea of a good time is aggressively marketed shots accompanied by overwhelming whooping and some seriously mediocre food. They cater to young drinkers, not families and people who care what they eat.
Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter in Stillwater is okay, not great. They handle a lot of tourists, so they could probably handle your crowd.
If I were planning a family reunion for 50-100 people, here's what I'd consider:
- Beer and food trucks! Arrange with one of our breweries or brewpubs for a tour, plus a catered dinner from a bunch of our fabulous new food trucks. If I were getting married again, this is what I'd do for the reception. One caution: Be sure that there are enough food trucks so that people don't have to wait in long lines for their food.
- A dinner cruise on the Jonathan Paddleford riverboat (a sunset cruise on the Mississippi river). The food is nothing special, but the scenery can't be beat. It's a slow cruise, so the older set (like this stodgy middle-aged person) would love this trip. If you could spring for a trendy band for the top level of the boat (which has a small dance floor), perhaps the younger set would like it, too.
- Dinner at a local winery or apple orchard. My husband's club is talking to Woodland Hills Winery about a meeting and dinner next summer, so I can't report yet on the food or the wine, but I'm really looking forward to this. Note that most MN wine is really nothing to write home about; we just don't get the warmth needed for great grapes. But we locals love the chance to get out of the city, especially in the summer. I'll bet some apple orchards also do banquets. Check here for more info:
I know you can book the American Swedish Institute for private events. The food at the cafe, FIKA, is lovely. Perhaps they cater. I also think the new cultural center part of the building where FIKA and the shop are housed would make a great party space, but I'm not sure if that's for rent.
Bachelor Farmer is another place that comes to mind, also with excellent food.
Does outdoors vs. indoors matter? It's likely to be REALLY hot and humid in July--something to keep in mind if you're considering an outdoor venue.
I was thinking of ASI/Fika as well. There is a courtyard between the older building and the Nelson cultural center (which houses Fika) which would be great if the weather cooperates. The multi-use room upstairs could be a great fall back plan if the weather is not so nice.
If the event is not on the weekend I might also consider seeing if the Black Forest will rent out their patio. 60-100 would work great in that space and the vines overhead keep it a bit cooler.