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Rehearsal dinner venue around Northampton for maybe 30 people?

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Any ideas to start me off on this search? I can read people's suggestions about food they enjoy but not being from the area have no clue which places are large enough to accommodate this size group. Friday night in summer time-frame, foodies, allergy-ridden, vegetarians, plain food lovers, locavores; we got em all.
Here's a list of restaurants that I've seen mentioned - rule some out for me please!
Sierra Grille, Union Station, Spoleto, Eastside Grill, Chez Albert (Amherst), Pau & Elizabeths, Eclipse, Woodstar, Bristro Les Gras, Green Bean, Amanouz, Zen, Ibiza, Hinge, Jakes, Dirty Truth...
Thanks

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  1. I know a lot of people use the Log Cabin on top of the mountain in Easthampton, but I've never been there personally. It has a great view. It's next door to Tavern on the Hill which also has great views but I don't know if they handle groups.

    In downtown Northampton there's Hotel Northampton which is very quaint and they definitely handle groups, weddings, etc..

    1. First the easy rule outs: Green bean, woodstar, jakes aren't open at dinner . Union Station is closed as is Eclipse. Amanouz is too small and too informal.

      I dislike Bistro Les Gras but it doesn't seem rehearsal dinnerish to me.

      People definitely do large groups at Sierra Grill; we did my neice's college grad dinner there at her request and it was reasonably good. The menu can accommodate all the groups you mentioned. Might be a good choice. Parking a pain but doable.

      East Side: I think the food is mediocre now . Haven't been to Spoleto's new location but they must be able to seat 30. Paul and Eliz is a favorite of mine but not festive. Zen is mediocre.

      Chez Albert is lovely, spendy.

      Could also consider Blue Heron in Sunderland, also spendy, and Alina's in Hadley and Coco in Easthampton, which is wonderful but maybe not big enough.

      Personally, I would focus on Sierra Grille, Alina's , Chez Albert , Coco if it is big enough( they do close for private parties).

      9 Replies
      1. re: magiesmom

        I agree with everything maggiesmom said. Sorry I only looked at the title of the post!

        I think Coco has possibly the best chef in the Valley, and they do close for private parties, which would make for a very cozy, intimate and fun atmosphere. They would definitely work with you on the allergies, etc.. I would describe their food as Asian influenced American.

        Sierra Grill is a great venue. I like the food there but it's pretty basic. Nothing has ever wowed me.

        Alina's also has a good chef and makes some delicious Italian fare. I haven't been since they moved into their new location but I can't imagine it would change the qualitynof the food. Although I must say the new space is where he cooked before and I didn't like the food there, but I assume he was making it to suit the owners at that time. I don't know if they cater to large parties.

        Some of the places mentioned, like Dirty Truth and Hinge are fun places but they're basically just bars.

        I will mention one additional place and that's Ginger Garden on route 9 between Hadley and Amherst. I've only had Chinese food there and it was very good. The space is very large.

        Oh, and if you're at all interested in an outdoor BBQ, I would highly recommend Bub's BBQ in Sunderland. The vegetarians might not be very impressed, but they have outdoor picnic tables w/umbrellas which could be a fun venue.

        1. re: magiesmom

          Excellent help! Sierra Grill said they top off at parties of 20 and referred me to Mulino's. Any thoughts on the food there?

          1. re: ocean266

            I used like Mulino's a lot but very meh lately. And I ordered some mussels which I thought were 'off" so have not gone back.
            If you want Italian Alina's is better and I think could accommodate.

            I would have mentioned Bub's but they really don't do vegetarian at all. And outdoors is too iffy for me.

            Don't know ginger garden but have heard good things. If you are thinking Asian, Butterfly in Hadley has a back room for large parties and can be very good, fish especially, lots of veg choices.
            not beautiful decor at all if you care.

            Do consider Coco.

            1. re: ocean266

              I haven't eaten at Mulino's in over a year. I always liked it okay but my husband thought they were just so-so. If you live in the area maybe you could do a trial run and see if you like it.

              Alina's offers a different style of Italian. Everything is very fresh and made with a light hand, not heavy. They make a Chioggia beet salad that is to die for! Since I haven't been to their new place I can't say if they accommodate groups.

              http://www.myalinas.com/menu.html

              Again, I can't recommend Coco enough and their prices are very reasonable, even more so than some of the other places mentioned. Entrees are under $20 for the most part and you could probably have the entire restaurant to yourself! I think they're only open Wed. - Sun. so if you call, just leave a message and they will get back to you when they open. (413) 203-5321

              One other place to throw into the mix is Hope & Olive up in Greenfield. Another great little place with fresh farm food and not too expensive. Not sure if they do groups, although for Easter brunch they say to call for a reservation for "any size party."

              http://www.hopeandolive.com/events

              Good luck!

              1. re: JunieB

                Oh, I love Hope and Olive. that would be a nice choice if they did large parties. A little out of the Northampton orbit, but only a half hour drive.

                Where is the wedding?

                1. re: magiesmom

                  Hope and Olive looks wonderful to me but there are some less adventuresome eaters involved so I will save it in reserve. I've left a message at Coco.
                  Thanks for all the input.

                  1. re: ocean266

                    I am not sure why you are worried about hope and Olive re:less adventurous food, their food is actually pretty straightforward. Good luck in all this.

            2. re: magiesmom

              I found out that Coco is not doing private parties. In fact the message on my phone said something about focusing on getting back open?

              1. re: ocean266

                They were closed for quite awhile due to liquor license issues but they reopened awhile ago. Bummer!

            3. I can weigh in on Ginger Garden.
              Since they also offer Korean, Japanese, and Fusion-Asian as well as Chinese, they've got food to appeal to all kinds of demanding eaters.
              The atmosphere is really pleasant, it's very attractive, and we've found the service attentive. And it's big ---
              My one caveat: I like some things I've had there a lot, and found others meh. For instance, like so many things in the Valley, they tend toward New England bland. To get something tasty, you have to start out with at least one hot chile rating whether or not you think you like spicy. You'd really need to taste some of their offerings so you'd know what kinds of things would appeal.
              That said, I've had terrific sushi and sashimi there, they have some unusual Chinese dishes I've never come across before, and their Twice-cooked Pork was just fine.

              1. What about Johnny's Tavern in Amherst? They have a private dining room that I think would accommodate that many. I have only been there a few times but was very pleased with it. They have a nice, simple but varied menu.

                2 Replies
                1. re: apricot

                  Totally forgot about Johnny's! I've only been to the one in Amherst once, and that was for lunch. We've been going to the one in South Hadley for a long time and find the food to be perfectly okay. Nothing to rave about but pretty solid. Good suggestion.

                  1. re: apricot

                    I like Johnny's but I don't think it is rehearsal dinner quality.

                  2. Have you checked out the Hotel Northhampton??

                    Been a while.....but it used to be a neat place.

                    The Jer

                    1. Hey ocean, I have another rec for you. Pintu's in West Springfield. They have the best Indian food in the Valley, hands down. Even better than most NYC Indian restaurants. Tonight I discovered that they have moved from their small restaurant into a much larger space. I asked them if they can handle parties of 30 and they said yes. It would also be a great menu for your vegetarian guests. The Mushroom Mirch Masala is out of this world. The new space is very comfortable and cheerful. They could probably set up a buffet for you or have a sit-down dinner.

                      http://pintusrestaurant.com/

                      I don't know if Tavern On The Hill can handle large parties but their place in Easthampton has a wonderful view. The food is okay. I wouldn't rave about it but it isn't bad.

                      http://www.tavernonline.com/

                      1. Finally made it out to Noho this weekend to look at some of these spaces. Turns out we are likely to top off at 20 people. Most will be staying at the Hotel Northampton so we looked at their rooms and basically found them to be either in the basement which might be ok in winter when you want cozy but this is a summer wedding or too office conference-like; not personal enough.
                        Alina's chef, owner, whoever, was lovely but he too offered a dingy basement room and would not consider having this large a party tie up space upstairs.
                        Blue Heron was great but in the end too pricey. Also since we are staying in town it seemed to make more sense to not need to drive after dinner/drinks.
                        In the end we will go to Sierra Grille. The selection of craft beer was the tipping point. It speaks to the style of the wedding couple.
                        Thanks for all the advice!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ocean266

                          Tried to respond before but Chowhound wouldn't let me!
                          Sounds like a solid plan. Good luck to all!

                          1. re: ocean266

                            I think you will be happy there.