What's a great little place in Portland, OR...that can handle 75 people?
June 23, 2010 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Arranging for a low-key brunchtime get-together in Portland, OR prior to a wedding in early Aug. and need some ideas for locations, caterers etc. for about 75 people.

I am arranging for a low-key (i.e. no ties and no uncomfortable shoes) get-together for friends of the bride and groom at about 11am the day before the wedding. Initially my thought was to do this in the evening before the wedding and rent out a back room at a bar. But it turned out the bride and groom wouldn't be available in the evening, so brunch it is.

Here is the current information:
  • I'm looking at about 75 guests including maybe 2 or 3 small children/babies.
  • Would be best if the location handles food as well, though if you have some recommendations for caterers to pair with locations, that would be perfect too
  • Would prefer not to get a generic hotel event room---would like something a little more interesting
  • Looking for something in the $1500 range (including food)
  • Would prefer some place that can't get rained out---so if it is outdoors, it has pavilions tents, etc.
  • There are a lot of engineers on the guest list
I have done some quick preliminary research and found these folks who suggested a few outdoor parks that would be good for a picnic type event and can do something within my target price range. Additionally, I received recommendations from the bride and groom: Mother's Bistro and Bar and Deschutes Brewery. But based on the final size of the party, I'm not sure if those places will work.

I am located on the East Coast, so won't have an opportunity to check any of the places out, but do have some folks available in the area who can do some running around for me if needed.

So, any ideas? Or was I crazy to take this task on?
posted by chiefthe to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might also look at a few of the McMenamin's sites. Edgefield (just east of Portland, in Troutdale) might be really lovely for this.

If you want to go the picnic-in-the-park route (lots of people do), info about permits can be found here. Laurelhurst Park comes to mind as a nice one.
posted by treblemaker at 2:35 PM on June 23, 2010

A quick phone call to Travel Portland might get you to some folks who can answer this question super fast. I'd find one place that can do everything. Would make your job much easier.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:57 PM on June 23, 2010

Over the years I've been to many events large (corporate events with many hundreds) and small (our wedding; a staff picnic) catered by Gina's. She would be familiar with locations they've worked before and can no doubt offer suggestions there. Edgefield is indeed a nice idea, too, and of course they'd do their own catering. Kennedy School is another interesting venue.
posted by cairnish at 2:59 PM on June 23, 2010

Not exactly little, but the Portland Art Museum rents out spaces and handles catering through Vibrant Table. This could be a really cool venue, especially for engineers. The sculpture garden can be tented, but stay low-key.
posted by karminai at 3:00 PM on June 23, 2010

We did exactly this before my wedding in Portland--we reserved a space at Mt. Tabor and just grilled burgers/dogs/etc. It was really nice, and all the out-of-town guests appreciated the casualness.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:00 PM on June 23, 2010

Best answer: The Lucky Lab has private rooms: http://www.luckylab.com/html/parties.html

It's pretty mellow although The food is pizza and sanwiches not brunch food
posted by vespabelle at 3:42 PM on June 23, 2010

I really love Ya Hala, which caters excellent Lebanese food. Depending on your location, the Barbur Foods location might be easier to work with. Both are owned by the same guy and have the same food, one is just in a grocery/deli format.

Barbur Foods, by the way, was recently called "The Lebanese answer to New Seasons", and is where I am going right now to get fixin's for dinner. Yum.
posted by Invoke at 3:42 PM on June 23, 2010

Post your question on Portlandfood.org and you'll get some great recommendations from folks who know food and restaurants (that is you'll be steered to good eats at places they know can handle that size crowd).
posted by rosebengal at 4:17 PM on June 23, 2010

My sister-in-law did a room at Kennedy School for brunch the day after the wedding in one of the school rooms. She came in early, hung a few balloons and the caterers did the rest -- a buffet brunch. It was great -- casual and a nice space.
posted by amanda at 8:28 PM on June 23, 2010

Check out the Abernathy Center in Oregon City, a suburb. It is the end of the Oregon Trail and the first incorporated city in Oregon. www.abernethycenter.com Great place, great service, inside and outside, 20 miles from the airport.
posted by KneeDeep at 8:07 PM on June 24, 2010

Response by poster: The Lucky Lab is just the spot! My husband and I have actually been to one of their locations on our last trip to Portland and really liked the laid-back atmosphere. It will be perfect for this group.
posted by chiefthe at 7:47 PM on June 25, 2010

Response by poster: A quick follow up for others who may reference this: The Lucky Lab was excellent. Decent food, great beer, reasonably priced (worked out to about $14 per person for all-you-can-eat food and the room) and a perfect venue for a laid-back hang-out event.
posted by chiefthe at 10:44 AM on August 8, 2010

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