Restaurants For A Holiday Party

There is always a little added pressure to pick the right venue for a holiday party. During this festive time of year, you want to show your friends, family and employees a memorable time with a little frivolity. When starting the search process, begin with the simple details and expand from there. A great holiday party doesn’t have to be extravagant to ensure a celebration. But beware, with the holiday season just weeks away, you need to reserve somewhere soon; popular party places often book early.

Before anything, set a budget and select a date or two for your party. Depending on the size of your party, it may be best to float the date by some of your guests to make sure it works during this busy time of year. Next, calculate an estimate of how many guests will be attending so you’ll know how many people a space needs to accommodate. Additionally, some restaurants will not book private parties unless there is a minimum number of people. Finally, it’s time to start looking for a location.

Begin by looking for restaurants in a central location for your guests or in an area that is exciting to explore. Consider stopping by a few different places to get a feel for how your guests will fit into the space. If you are stumped, ask friends and family for some recommendations. Now narrow down your choices to the restaurants that meet your needs.

While many restaurants are willing to accommodate a group, not all will. Visualize your party ahead of time and seek out restaurants that offer options that fit your specific needs. Decide ahead of time if you want your party to be held in a private room, if you want a pre-set menu or if you want food served family style, buffet or by servers. To keep everyone happy, double check that the restaurant has dedicated staff for your event.

Another thing to consider is if you want your event to be a cocktail party or a full-out dinner. Cocktail parties tend to be less expensive and offer more versatility. One of the toughest aspects of party planning is picking the menu. With everyone from meat lovers to vegetarians in the same room, it can be difficult to ensure you have a variety of crowd-pleasing choices. Find out if the restaurant offers a special menu for groups. This often includes a selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts, so everyone will be happy. If it includes beverages, tax and tip, you can calculate how much your party will cost head of time, so you’ll avoid any unnecessary surprises at the end of the night.

During the holiday season, it’s all about the bubbly. If your party is going to include alcohol, decide if you want it to be beer, wine and/or liquors. With people attending parties nearly every weekend during December, consider adding a few unique details to help your party stand out. Some restaurants will even create a unique cocktail to add to the memories and festivities.

By following these tips, you can ensure people will still be talking about your party well into the New Year.

About the Author

Bobby Fitzgerald

Bobby Fitzgerald is a 20 year restaurant veteran and passionate foodie. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and began working at the legendary Dancing Crab as a teenager. After studying culinary arts and food management at Johnson & Wales University, Bobby was a chef in Napa Valley and spent six years with Houston's Restaurants opening restaurants in five U.S. cities. In 1999 he started his company which today has locations in four states under The White Chocolate Grill and Cinzetti's Italian Market brands, serving 25,000 meals a week in from-scratch kitchens. All-the-while Bobby has dined in more restaurants then most food critics and creating fresh recipe ideas is a big part of his life. Bobby lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and three children and serves on the Board of Directors of The Arizona Restaurant Association as well as the Phoenix-Metro American Cancer Society. His current projects include Restaurants Against Cancer where Bobby is rallying the restaurant community to support camps for kids with cancer by donating the food and supplies needed to run the camps.  Bobby is the author of "The Customer First Manager" available at

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