Meet and Eat in Style: Restaurant Event Venues around Edina

The upcoming holidays are peak season for company parties, club meetings and get-togethers with friends.

The upcoming holidays are peak season for company parties, club meetings and get-togethers with friends. When it’s time to play host, determining your venue is a big step.

Edina has restaurant meeting rooms for every taste and budget. Many have contract and deposit requirements. Food and beverage minimums may apply. Prices vary when factoring in the time of day, day of the week and time or year, plus the number of people and kind of food or beverages served. Some restaurants have options for a full buy out. Explore the possibilities for meetings and events in Edina.

The CōV’s nautical feel carries through every room: a touch of navy, whitewashed wood and gallery walls of boat pictures. Three event areas hold true to the nautical motif. The gracefully decked porch has screens with temperature controlled by fans and heaters. It’s popular for social, family and corporate events for up to 100 people (or 55 plated.) The cozily secluded harbor room has blinds for privacy. It’s perfect for board dinners and other private business meetings. The 40-seat or 50-person reception space has a double-sided fireplace plus the latest in business presentation tech, including a built-in television monitor depicting seascapes when unreserved. Outside the harbor room, a communal table offers more open event space in the main restaurant area.

Pinstripes offers tempting dishes and drinks as well as fun games—all in the leafy shadows of Centennial Lakes Park. Room rental options abound in this facility. The 400-reception or 280-seated ballroom offer top-floor views with a balcony. Partitions divide the room if needed for smaller groups. For games: A bowling lane holds up to eight players, and a bocce court fits up to 10 players. “We host an average of 35 events a week, 65 percent of these events are corporate or association,” director of sales Janna Caven says. Guests will enjoy Italian-inspired foods and drinks. Staff love to shape the menu. “We love to pair the right wine and best signature cocktails to highlight the food you choose,” she says.

A trio of private dining spaces share Lela’s modern vibe. The private dining room has polished wood-grained tables big enough to seat up to 36 guests (up to 50 standing.) The partially private lounge overlooks the patio with space for 40 to 60 people. Weddings have even taken place here. In a space that sparkles like no other, the wine room is pillared by two floor-to-ceiling glass wine cases. Wine bottles fill the cases creating a partially private space sure to dazzle guests (up to 10). Seafood, steaks and pastas are on tiered menus designed for crowds. “Establish the objective of the event. This dictates type and style. You’ll need different options for a networking event versus an educational session or social experience amongst friends,” event manager Emily Vieth says.

Location, location, location. The Westin has a prime location with five meetings spaces that facilitate groups up to 400 or smaller gatherings. Flexible rooms create options for events with different room sizes or even for cocktail services that spill out into fashionably contemporary corridors. There’s even a courtyard. Food and beverages hail from McCormick & Schmick’s—conveniently situated in the same building. Guests have easy access to just about everything with the Galleria connected by tunnel, and Super Target and Southdale Center just across the street. “[The Westin] really is a fun spot. It’s easy for people to navigate around and they don’t have to go far,” marketing and event manager Elizabeth Johnson says.

McCormick & Schmick’s
Mirrored panels and a geometrically designed carpet compound the spaciousness of the dining room. A wood paneled and vaulted ceiling is defined by sound proofs walls. Modern chandeliers add to the updated charm. The finely detailed setting matches the namesake seafood and steaks McCormick & Schmick’s is known for, but don’t stop there. Desserts are heavenly visions of sweetness: The chocolate bag would delight any guest. Select from private dining menus for eight to 90 guests with buffet and plated options for any time of day. “A lot of people in Edina don’t know we’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’d be surprised at how many breakfast events we do,” sales manager Kay Johnson says.

Pizza makes the party, and Davanni’s is the place for 23 years running. The informal atmosphere and proven menu have appeal for all. The side room can be reserved and accommodates up to 50 people. Edina sports teams often meet here, not to mention birthday parties, communion celebrations and even kids’ make your own pizza parties. “It’s kind of fun for us being the center of the community … People remember coming here as a kid so it’s multigenerational,” general manager Dave Skilar says. A $8 per person food minimum makes Davanni’s an affordable choice.

The Hilltop’s covered patio easily seats 35 people and is available for private groups with breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktail events. A retractable roof, adjustable windows and lit fireplace preference ensure year-round comfort. Guests enjoy a tradition of service that goes back 40 years to the former Eden Avenue Grill. Friendly staff, a full bar, big screen television and audio-visual options make meetings run smoothly. A flexible approach takes everything into account. This is a neighborly spot sure to please. Timeless food classics plus new innovative dishes keep everyone satisfied. Yes, the Newberry hot sandwich is still on the menu.

Big Bowl
The side room at the Big Bowl in the Galleria facilitates meeting space for parties up to 24. The Red Room is appropriately named for its fiery red walls and warm décor. The group share menu applies to events with 12 or more people. The host selects three appetizers and three main dishes prior to the event. In keeping with the Chinese tradition of sharing food, meals are served family style with rice as an accompaniment. The chance to try different Chinese and Thai foods adds to the fun of any gathering.

Pittsburg Blue
A sophisticated style carries through Pittsburg Blue’s two event spaces. The dark wood-paneled Blue Room holds 54 dinner guests or 75 guests for cocktail-style receptions. Floor layouts can be tailored for event needs, all with complete privacy. The smaller Board Room is sized for client meetings or family celebrations up to 10 guests. Pre-set custom menus highlight popular appetizers, salads, steak or seafood dishes and desserts. The selections simplify group ordering. The staff takes pride in going above and beyond to make a good impression. “Some of our staff have been with us for over 15 years and they are very professional,” director of sales and events Kristi Larson says.

Salut Bar Americain
The Cocktail Lounge is the spot for “yes to the dress” events that carry over from 50th & France boutiques and other celebrations. The room accommodates up to 20 guests in a semi-private setting. The French ambiance makes every gathering a touch more jubilant. The food and drinks stick to the Francophile theme. Try the pommes frites, baked brie and blue crab cakes for starters and don’t stop until you reach the crème brulee. Have a cocktail or glass of wine along the way.

Helpful Hints
Whether a black tie gala or family gathering, every event gathers a hungry crowd.

Here are a few tips to make any gathering a success.

• Plan the details well in advance.
• Book meeting space early, as soon as the event date is known. Some restaurants book out years ahead.
• For appetizers, arrange for a menu of just three to five items.
• Have food on a buffet or served family style to share. (If large groups order separate items for each person, the kitchen can be overwhelmed.)
• For more formal gatherings, a plated service may be best. Stick to one to three menu items for each course.
• If possible, have both hot and cold options.
• Consider personal preferences (vegetarian, vegan), gluten sensitivity, food allergies and other requirements guests may have.
• Decide who is paying for what up front. Maybe the host is treating? (A wedding or corporate meeting.) Maybe guests are paying for their food and service? (A sports team pizza party). No one wants the awkwardness of having to unexpectedly pick up the tab.
• Host duties start early: Arrive before the event start time to check everything. Test audio-visual equipment if it’s part of the event.
• Be familiar with the venue before your event. Dine at the restaurant, take a tour or ask for food samples.
• Relax and have fun. The restaurant is there to help.