7 Great Rehearsal Dinner Locations in Pittsburgh
Our dining critic introduces you to seven unique rehearsal dinner locations that are perfect gathering places for friends and family.
Photo by Laura Petrilla
Wild Night: The Bodega at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina
If you’re looking to get a little rowdy while eating some amazing food, consider Gaucho in the Strip.
Food and Drink: The event coordinator will work with you to set a menu for the dinner, which can be served either family-style or buffet-style. Family-style meals generally are four or five courses, but both menus will be designed to showcase a wide range of the Gaucho menu; steaks grilled over hardwood are the specialty here, but the Gaucho kitchen also cooks fantastic fish, chicken and vegetable dishes. Paella and other specialty items can be added to the menu. Drinks are BYOB, and there is no additional corkage fee.
Maximum Capacity: 30 guests for a seated meal; 40 for a standing, cocktail-style party.
Rate and Length: $1,500 minimum food charge, plus tax and gratuity. In general, events start at 5:30 or 6 p.m. and can last until about 10:30 p.m. Longer events can be arranged at additional cost.
Lead Time: At least one week to 10 days, but bookings can be made a year — or more — in advance. The longer the lead time, the better chance at getting your preferred date, as this space books fast.
(1601 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/709-6622, eatgaucho.com)
PHOTO BY JENNIFER BARON
Eat (really) Local: Churchview Farm
This third-generation farmette in the South Hills hosts chef-driven farm dinners throughout the growing season. On nights when dinners aren’t scheduled, Tara Rockacy’s farm can be yours for a special evening under a pergola in the middle of the fields.
Food and Drink: Organizers are responsible for contracting with a caterer, but the farm can refer you to several: the teams behind Above & Beyond Catering, Coca Cafe and Kevin Costa all have cooked rehearsal dinners at the farm; Keith Fuller (Root 174), Thin Man Sandwich Shop and big Burrito Catering also are recommended. Bonus: Much of what you and your guests will eat can come directly from the farm’s fields. Alcohol can be supplied through the caterer or by the organizer.
Maximum Capacity: The pergola comfortably seats 50 guests (and is weather-resistant). Additional capacity is possible, though that will require the organizer to rent another tent.
Rate and Length: Base price is $600 for four hours of active event time (setup is allowed earlier); it’s an additional $150 per hour after that. Catering costs work separately.
Lead Time: At least one month’s notice is preferred, as the farm tends to book quickly during the summer (check the online schedule of farm dinners before booking). Because the space is kept ready for events from May through October, shorter bookings might be accommodated.
(3897 Churchview Ave., Baldwin Borough; churchviewfarmpgh.com)
Photo courtesy of Willow
Rustic Charm: Willow
Willow’s charming atmosphere is perfect for couples looking to celebrate with their loved ones in the North Hills. There are a number of options to choose from at the recently remodeled restaurant.
Food and Drink: The cuisine at Willow is refined American food. Banquet menus include options for sit-down dinner service, buffets and hors d’oeuvre plates. Pricing structures will allow for accommodations for many different parties. Guests can order from the full bar menu, but hosts also have the option of creating a list of selections before the event.
Maximum Capacity: Four private rooms are available at Willow; the smallest seats 16, and the largest can seat up to 150.
Rate and Length: There are no room fees, but there is a food and beverage minimum: $500 per room on Sundays-Thursdays, $1,200 on Fridays and $1,500 on Saturdays. Tax and gratuity are not included in calculating the minimums.
Lead Time: At least two weeks is appreciated.
(634 Camp Horne Road, Ohio Township; 412/847-1007, willowpgh.com)
Classic Contemporary: Eleven Contemporary Kitchen
Eleven in the Strip District is one of the classiest restaurants in the city. The venue offers highly customizable options for party planners; several private rooms and an outdoor deck accommodate groups of various sizes. Eleven was selected as one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s five “Killer Kitchens” in our 2015 Best Restaurants issue. The big Burrito Restaurant Group also includes Casbah, Kaya, Soba, Umi and Mad Mex; rehearsal dinners can be arranged at these locations too.
Food and Drink: For parties with 15 or more guests, hosts can choose from menus ranging from $55-$75 per person; these are composed of selections from the restaurant’s seasonal menu. Meals are four courses, and those at the $60 price range and higher also include antipasti. Drinks are an additional charge; tax aand gratuity are not included.
Maximum Capacity: Varies. The smallest room (Mulberry) holds a maximum of 12 guests. The entire restaurant can be rented to accommodate 250 guests. There are various packages between those two extremes.
Rate: $800 food and beverage minimum for the smallest room; up to $40,000 to book the entire restaurant on a Saturday (entire restaurant is $18,000 on a Sunday), with a variety of options and price structures for private rooms on the second floor. The outdoor deck (covered and heated as needed) is available March-November and is $1,000 minimum on Sunday, $2,000 minimum on Monday-Wednesday; $3,500 minimum on Thursday & Friday; $4,000 minimum on Saturday.
Lead Time: No fixed time required, but the sooner that organizers can start the planning process, the better.
(1150 Smallman St., Strip District; 412/201-5656, elevenck.com)
Home Away From Home: e2
“Bring your bottle, bring your mess” is the slogan of this warm Highland Park gem.
Food and Drink: Rustic Italian. Meals are typically served family-style, with a range of plates including hearty salads, homemade meatballs, vegetables and pasta over two courses. Antipasto and dessert courses can be added as well. Specific options rotate seasonally and are determined by what’s available through local farms and purveyors. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Alcohol is BYOB; beer and wine corkage is included in the rental fee, but liquor is an additional $100 charge for the extra glassware and service required.
Maximum Capacity: 50 guests.
Rate and Length: There is a $300 room fee and a menu price of $35-$56 per person. The space is yours from 6 to 11 p.m. on the evening of the event.
Lead Time: Bookings are taken up to six months in advance but can be made with as little as one week’s notice if the room is available.
(5409 Bryant St., Highland Park; 412/441-1200, e2pgh.com)
Photo by Laura Petrilla
Small & Decadent: Meat & Potatoes
Enjoy your rehearsal dinner in style at Meat & Potatoes, the original restaurant of the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group, which also includes Butcher and the Rye and täkō (both spaces also are available for rehearsal dinners). Meat & Potatoes offers an intimate party experience in the restaurant’s private dining room and also the option to rent the entire restaurant.
Food and Drink: Guests in the private dining room receive a three-course meal that includes a seasonal salad, entrée and dessert; appetizers may be ordered in advance at an additional cost. Drinks in the private dining room are ordered from the menu in the bar; it’s one of our favorites in the city. Meals and beverage service may be customized when you rent the whole restaurant.
Maximum Capacity: Private dining room maximum is 20 guests. The entire restaurant seats 60 for a dinner and holds up to 100 for a stand-up, cocktail-style meal.
Rate and Length: Rental fee for the private dining room is $250 and covers the whole evening; food and beverage costs are tabulated as a traditional check. Renting the entire restaurant is based on a food and beverage minimum, which is determined by day of the week and length of the rental.
Lead Time: A month’s notice is requested, but the restaurant can make other accommodations depending on availability.
(649 Penn Ave., Downtown; 412/325-7007, meatandpotatoespgh.com)
Photo courtesy of Tender bar + Kitchen
Cocktail Party: Tender Bar + Kitchen
Tender in Lawrenceville is one of the city’s premiere cocktail bars, so if you’re looking for a spirited night with delicious beverages, this might be the spot for you. The downstairs Gold Room is typically the spot for rehearsal dinners, but you also can arrange (at an additional cost) to rent the entire bar.
Food and Drink: Typically a three-course meal is served. First course, served family-style, is three appetizers chosen by the host from the restaurant menu; cheese boards, charcuterie plates and salads also can be added at an additional cost. Guests then are served plated entrées; there typically is a choice of four, and those change seasonally. A plated dessert finishes the meal. Event staff are happy to work with hosts to accommodate special requests and dietary needs. Drinks are a highlight at Tender. A dedicated bartender serves the party a choice of six cocktails from Tender’s classic and custom cocktail list. A bar also is stocked with spirits and mixers, beer, red and white wine and soft drinks.
Maximum Capacity: The Gold Room holds 20 guests for a sit-down dinner and 25 for a cocktail party with passed hors d’oeuvres.
Rate and Length: Parties are priced for three hours, and additional hours can be reserved for an extra charge. The cost is $75 per person for parties of 15 or more; $1,000 food and beverage minimum for parties 14 and under. Tax and 20 percent gratuity not included.
Lead Time: One month or more is suggested, though parties can be arranged with a 10-day lead time if there are no other bookings.
(4300 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/402-9522, tenderpgh.com)