Well-Rehearsed: The Top Rehearsal Dinner Spots in the Twin Cities
After months of choosing vendors, decorations and dresses, a rehearsal dinner marks the moment you can finally sit back and start letting the good times roll. Now … where to host that celebration? The Twin Cities is home to many restaurants that boast fabulous private dining space. From multi-course tasting menus to organic and locally sourced Midwest cuisine to casual Mexican feasts, there’s a restaurant for every palate and budget.
• Rooftop Rendezvous: Union Restaurant Elevate your guests’ dining experience by hosting your rehearsal dinner in a space with a view. Offering rooftop seating in the middle of downtown Minneapolis, “it” restaurant Union gives guests an impressive glimpse of city life. But that’s not all. As a new kid on the Minnesota food block, the restaurant has quickly earned a reputation for fare that’s just as fresh as the ambiance. Choose from a long list of hot or cold hors d’oeuvres and three-course dinner options, which can also be served in the restaurant’s main-floor dining space, the Fish Market. Capacity: 250–300 (rooftop); 75 (Fish Market). Pricing: From $10,000 (rooftop); from $3,000 (Fish Market). Also try: Stella’s Fish Café, Acqua.
• Modern Elegance (without the attitude): La Belle Vie This prestigious restaurant serves more than just fine food; dining at La Belle Vie is an epicurean experience. An a la carte menu is available, but staff members and regulars unanimously agree: don’t skip the eight-course tasting menu. For starters, chef Tim McKee will delight your taste buds with a niçoise salad; six courses later, the night ends with a brown sugar custard with honey ginger cake, topped with thyme poached plums and caramel ice cream. The private Loring Room, separated from the rest of venue thanks to large French doors, suits intimate parties, while the full dining room can accommodate up to 80. Capacity: Up to 34 (private room); up to 80 (full dining space); 150–200 reception style. Pricing: $2,000–$4,500 food and beverage minimum (private room); $7,000–$12,000 (seated, full dining room); $9,000–$16,000 (reception style). Also try: Café Lurcat, Vincent – A Restaurant.
• Urban Heritage: The Bachelor Farmer Located in the North Loop neighborhood, the Bachelor Farmer stands as a tribute to Nordic-inspired recipes, simple yet sophisticated dining, and local, organic ingredients. Some of their seasonal ingredients are so local, chefs only had to travel to the rooftop garden to source them. Four stylishly designed event spaces can accommodate seated dinners for up to 50 guests. Menus change daily, but it’s a no-fail idea to close out your dinner with some of their house-made baked goods, like bourbon pecan blondies, sea-salt chocolate brownies or chocolate chip cookies. Capacity: Up to 50. Pricing: $5,000 food and beverage minimum. Also try: Tilia.
• Gorgeous and Gourmet: Heartland Restaurant Farm-to-table fare is the name of the game at chef Lenny Russo’s Heartland Restaurant in Lowertown. Banquet rooms with a warehouse ambiance (think wood-beamed ceilings and exposed pipes) offer private seating and customizable menus. Looking for an entertaining twist for a small gathering? Three chef’s tables (seating eight guests each) are also available right next to the open kitchen. At the end of a multi-course menu, chef Russo will guide you in a behind-the-scenes tour of the restaurant. Capacity: Up to 260 (banquet rooms), up to 24 (chef’s tables). Pricing: $1,500 food and beverage minimum (banquet rooms), $130 per guest (chef’s tables). Also try: 112 Eatery, Butcher & the Boar.
• Old-School Classic: W.A. Frost & Company Charming, classic, sophisticated—what more could you ask for in a rehearsal dinner venue? Historic dining destination W.A. Frost & Company is an architectural gem, boasting a cozy Victorian ambiance, arched doorways and wood fireplaces. Choose from two European-style private rooms, the lower-level lounge or the patio garden bar, then customize a menu from a selection of eclectic American dishes. Another plus? The restaurant’s award-winning wine list. Capacity: Up to 60. Pricing: Food and beverage minimum $600–$1,750. Also try: Aster Café, Forepaugh’s.
• Italian Feast: Bar La Grassa With wine flowing, an energetic ambiance and James Beard award-winning chef Isaac Becker’s ingenious twists on Italian cuisine, a dinner at Bar La Grassa will leave your guests feeling nothing short of wowed. The beautiful semi-private dining room can seat up to 30, or accommodate 48 for a cocktail reception. Delectable dishes such as gnocchi with cauliflower and orange, and white anchovy avocado bruschetta help create a night you won’t forget. Capacity: Up to 30 seated, 48 reception style. Pricing: From $3,000 food and beverage minimum. Also try: Buca di Beppo, Loring Pasta Bar.
• Vibrant Fiesta: Boca Chica Murals cover the walls of Boca Chica’s dining rooms, setting a festive scene that highlights the Mexican heritage of this flavorful cuisine. Buffets can be enjoyed in the comfortable el Grito or el Cortijo private rooms, each equipped with a cozy fireplace. Spice up your dinner with personalized entertainment like a Mexican vocal trio or Paraguayan harpist. Full bar service is also available (after all, what would a fiesta be without the tequila?). Capacity: Up to 55. Pricing: $250 service room fee, plus $13 per guest. Also try: Barrio, Chino Latino.
Thinking Outside the Box
Sit-down dinner not your idea of a wedding-eve celebration? We've got some alternatives.
1. Host a catered picnic-style dinner in a park, which will offer plenty of space for activities like lawn games, marshmallow roasting or stargazing.
2. Play ball! Reserve a suite at Target Field for dinner and a Twins game.
3. Ride the calming currents of Minnesota’s endless sky-blue waters. Cruise the Mississippi River with a Paradise Charter Cruise or a Magnolia Blossom Cruise, or glide across Lake Minnetonka aboard a Queen of Excelsior cruise or an Al and Alma’s cruise.
4. In lieu of a dinner, treat everyone to a show at one of Minneapolis’s finest theaters, like the Guthrie or Orpheum.
5. For some friendly competition, head to a bowling alley like Elsie’s Restaurant and Bar, or Pinstripes, both of which offer extensive private dining so you can enjoy dinner before knocking down a few pins.