Looking for somewhere to host your next event in midtown Raleigh? You have come to the right place – Midtown Grille! We recently sat down with Midtown Grille Private Dining Coordinator Susan Alibrandi to get all the details on private dining options and the inside scoop from a real party pro.
Q: Susan, can you tell us more about when private dining is appropriate?
A: Our Private Dining Room is ideally suited for all types of special events – corporate events, wedding rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, bridal and baby showers, surprise birthday parties, club luncheons… just about any occasion to celebrate family, friends, and food!
The room is equipped with a 60″ flat screen TV, which is laptop compatible, making it a great option for PowerPoint Presentations, birthday slideshows, etc.
Q: What something creative thing you have done in the past to make an event really special at Midtown Grille?
A: We have been very lucky to be able to utilize the privacy curtains for surprise events – keeping them closed, seating the guest of honor near the Private Room doors, and then opening the curtains and doors for the reveal! Many a tear have been shed upon seeing close friends and family gathered to celebrate those individuals. The curtains also come in handy for company seminars which can have some graphic slides that typically wouldn’t be shared with the average guests, like medical seminars!
I strive to personalize menus for each event to commemorate the occasion, company, and other personal quips in celebrations. In the past, we have incorporated the menu and set up to serve as the finale for a scavenger hunt. How cool is that?!
And we’ve even completely transformed the restaurant for larger groups who buyout the evening.
Q: Ok, we’re ready to book our next private party! How many people can the private dining room hold? I need to start working on my guest list…
A: The Private Room can comfortably seat up to 30 guests. If absolutely necessary, we can fit an additional two seats… but it is cozy! For a standup reception, we can fit 40 people with scattered seats around the perimeter of the room. We have, in the past, incorporated the area immediately outside the private room for an additional 17 seats. We open the doors and use privacy screens to separate the group from the main dining room.
Q: How are menus handled for private events?
A: For parties of 16 or fewer guests, event hosts have a choice of ordering from the regular menu as well as from one of the banquet menus. Groups of more than 16 will be ordering from one of the prix fixe menus included in our Event Packet. We can also offer buffet-style dining and family-style dining options with shared plates. These days, there are a lot of dietary restrictions that we mostly cover in all of our menus, but we can always accommodate a guests likes, dislikes, and allergy concerns.
Q: Without giving up too many of your party planning secrets, can you share with us one of your favorite past events?
A: We host monthly wine dinners which are great fun! We have an established following for these dinners and it really is the perfect opportunity for Chef Marshall to “spread his wings”, so to speak, and get incredibly creative with wine and food pairings. I think Chef enjoys working with the wine tastings prior to the menu design as much as the execution of the event itself.
We had a company dinner for Revlon a while back for which we closed the restaurant to the general public. There were about 90 guests and the big surprise for attendees was the guest appearance of Halle Berry, a Revlon Ambassador. Our clients had hired a photo booth for the evening and when the time came to begin, the photo booth was not operating as expected. It could have been a big disappointment, but luckily, Raleigh photographer Felicia Perry-Trujillo was in the restaurant that evening, so she ended up taking all the pictures of the attendees with Ms. Berry… and then with our staff!
One thing I am incredibly grateful for is the amount of repeat business we do with many of our clients. Chef changes our menus seasonally, thus always providing something new and delicious to serve our first-time diners, as well as our monthly return guests.