"Our events business is growing in all aspects," said Kiran Pinto, a managing partner at Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.
Her company is opening and RPM Events on the Water (rendering shown here), a 6,000-square-foot space this fall. The space will be able to host 250 guests for a seated function and 425 for a reception, and the outdoor terrace will provide views of the Chicago River.
"A large majority of our restaurants have had private dining rooms for the 40-some odd years that we've been in existence now, but we really entered the events market were we just have dedicated event spaces that don't function as full-service restaurants [...] in the last five years or so, and that's really been in response to our guests requests," said Pinto.
The Dalcy, one of Lettuce Entertain You's event spaces, shown here.
Hospitality Boulevard, a restaurant-and-bar conglomerate that includes The Wellesbourne in Los Angeles, offers a "planner's concierge" for their private-event clients.
The vintage library look is part of the appeal of the space, but so is the personal touch Hospitality Boulevard offers, said partner Joey Pintozzi. "We get back to you with a good old-fashioned phone call within a few hours of contacting us."
"Today our guests are looking to talk to our sales associates and design their unique experience so set menus are not as relevant," said Melissa Johnson, the executive director of Columbus, Ohio-based Cameron Mitchell Premier Events.
The Ivory Room, a space that can accommodate 300, shown here.
Cloud Cakes are one of those unique experiences Cameron Mitchell Premier Events has created for their private events.
"These are citrus angel sponge cakes that are tied into small clear cellophane bags. We fill them with helium and create a gigantic balloon display on the station. Guests come up and use a pretty pin to pop their balloon and catch their cloud cake. We snip open the top and their delicious cake is ready to be enjoyed! It was a spectacular display and a big conversation piece!"
At New York City-based Delicious Hospitality Group the team caters large events, but doesn't forget about the 10-top table, said Ryan Hardy, the executive chef and partner.
"Private events is not just what it sounds like. It's not just somebody having a birthday party or bridal shower or wedding celebration, although sometimes those things are part of it, large party dining is a really big part of it."
The private dining room At Charlie Bird, a Delicious Hospitality restaurant, shown here.
At the Test Kitchen, a private-dining space in Legacy Records, another Delicious Hospitality restaurant, guests can mingle with the chef. "We customize everything with them," said Hardy.