Everybody loves a party, but not everyone loves to host one. When there’s a need to organize a gathering with family and friends, making a reservation at a favorite restaurant can be just the ticket for ensuring everyone gets to relax and enjoy, with no drinks to pour, no stress in the kitchen and even more importantly, no cleanup! Here’s our list of restaurants that are more than happy to accommodate, be it daytime or evening, with flexible seating arrangements, practical menu suggestions and private or semi-private spaces. Call now and get your party on the books.
Crab Cake Benedict
The recently opened Pittsburgh Blue in the Galleria, the second one to open in the Twin Cities area, offers a couple of private dining options. The Blue Room, which seats up to 50 guests, works well for rehearsal dinners, presentations or celebratory dinners. The Boardroom, a small private room off the bar that seats eight, is an ideal spot for an intimate business meeting. While the restaurant is known for its dry-aged, center cut steaks, the menu also offers many seafood options, including the crab cake Benedict ($12.95), a rich crab cake topped with asparagus, broiled tomato and Bernaise sauce. Others seafood dishes to try include a seafood cobb salad ($16.95) and ahi tuna au poivre ($28.95). Sunday brunch begins at 11 a.m. and is another fine option for family gatherings.
Galleria, 2510 W. 70th St.; 952.567.2700
Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.
Cajun Jambalaya Pasta
The Cheesecake Factory is a master at scaling large parties, able to serve groups of up to 40 people on a daily basis, without requiring a reservation. And with 200+ menu items, even the pickiest eater will find something to love. The Cajun jambalaya pasta ($16.95) is the best-selling pasta dish, with shrimp, chicken, tomato, onion and pepper in a spicy Cajun sauce, served over fresh linguini. From the list of specialties, the crispy, spicy beef ($15.95) is also popular, offering fried slices of steak sautéed with green beans, shiitake mushrooms, onions and carrots in a sweet and spicy sauce with white rice and sesame seeds. When dessert time rolls around, you obviously won’t want to miss the cheesecake ($6.95–$7.95), with a few dozen flavors to choose from, from a seasonal pumpkin to layered red velvet and a dulce de leche caramel. With the generous portion sizes, groups are well advised to order several slices to taste and pass around.
2715 Southdale Center; 952.653.3333
Hours: 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–12:30 a.m. Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–10 p.m Sun.
Kogi Beef Tacos
Crave can accommodate groups of all sizes, from 8 to 300. The chef’s table adds an element of drama for up to eight friends, while the Four Seasons dining room holds up to 100, the semi-private Atrium seats up to 24, and the entire restaurant can accommodate 300 guests. The Galleria favorite offers several group dining menus beyond ordering off the regular menu. Little tidbits like the kogi beef tacos with kimchee, salsa verde and warm tortillas ($75 portion serves 25 or $10.95 on regular menu) will have everyone raving, as will the pesto shrimp, a crostini made with oven-dried tomatoes and pistachio pesto ($90 portion serves 25 or $12.95 on regular menu).
Galleria, 3520 W. 70th St.; 952.697.6000
Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and 4 p.m.–9 p.m. Sun.
If you’re going to Mozza Mia for your family gathering, of course you’re going to want to test out the freshly made mozzarella, and the mozzarella tasting platter is the best way to do it. It offers a variety of presentations from plain mozzarella for slicing to the rollatini, a slice of mozzarella rolled with fillings like La Quercia prosciutto ($14 portion serves two to three, $24 portion serves four to six). For the main course, different kinds of pizza will fit a variety of palates, and the fig and prosciutto ($15) and margherita ($12) pizzas seem to be the ultimate crowd-pleasers. The 50th and France pizzeria also launched a party room this fall, which can accommodate up to 75 guests, with group menu prices starting at as little as $15 per person. Meals can be done buffet-style or family-style, sit down or stand up. If you’d like to be set in the center of the action, the mozzarella bar in the main dining room is frequently used for smaller parties, with 18 chairs lining either side.
3910 W. 50th St.; 952.288.2882
Hours: 11 am.–10 p.m. Mon–Thurs., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat. and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun.
Tavern on France is the quintessential happy hour spot, with a sociable bar crowd and specials on signature snacks like the Tavern Bleu chips ($7.50)—house made potato chips topped with crispy smoked bacon, a four-cheese blend, and bleu cheese crumbles, served with seasoned sour cream and a choice of their signature sauces. However, it also has a variety of accommodations, including a semi-private back room that serves up to 60 guests, if you’d like to host a holiday party with a full-on dinner. In that case, go with something like the baked spaghetti ($13.50), a hearty option for the winter months, made with spaghetti, Italian sausage and pepperoni, marinara and garlic parmesan sauce, and mozzarella cheese, baked until it forms a golden crust on top with a gooey, cheesy layer underneath. Arrangements can be made throughout the dining room to accommodate your party, by pushing tables together or creating a reception-style environment.
6740 France Ave. S.; 952.358.6100
Hours: 11 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun.
Chicken Pad Thai
The group share menu is just the ticket for parties at Big Bowl. Parties of five or more can order any three appetizers and any three entrees from the entire menu for a set price of $19.95 per person. One of the most popular options is the chicken pad Thai, offering the clean, bright taste of lemon and herbs, with slices of all-natural chicken, rice noodles, basil, eggs, sprouts and peanuts, in a mildly spicy house sauce. Any of the curries also work well, because they are very saucy and come with heaps of white rice. For seating, big round tables accommodate smaller parties and ensure the flow of conversation, but there’s also a private party room that seats up to 35 guests. The menu can be served family-style or guests can order from the regular menu.
Galleria, 3510 W. 70th St.; 952.928.7888
Hours: 11:15 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11:30–9 p.m. Sun.
Spinach, Shrimp and Tomato Flatbread
Bowling is the ultimate icebreaker. Even if you’re horrible at it, everyone still has a good time. It follows, then, that a night out with friends or family at Pinstripes, which offers 16 bowling lanes and six bocce courts, will get everyone laughing and mingling. If you’re looking for something informal, with food and drinks in the lanes or courts, try the pizza and flatbread party. Pizzas like the spinach, shrimp and tomato flatbread ($13 on the regular menu) or sausage and peppers pizza ($12) are served with salads and desserts for a price ranging from $24–$38 per head. Formal sit-down occasions are accommodated with family-style options in the dining room, as well. This time of year, the view of Centennial Lake, with ice skating, creates a winter wonderland feel.
3849 Gallagher Dr.; 952.835.6440
Hours: 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun., 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–12 a.m. Fri., 10 a.m.–12 a.m. Sat.