Help!! Can someone suggest somewhere appropriate in the Oakland/Berkeley area for a post-funeral/memorial service meal this coming Saturday afternoon (around 4 pm or so)?
Appropriate=quiet; courteous and flexible staff; inexpensive; no stairs; able to accommodate a large crowd (exact numbers unpredictable); ethnic food okay but not Thai or Indian or noveau-ish. Not fancy, just comforting and a reasonable drive from Piedmont Avenue (and from there to Oakland Airport for our out-of-town guests).
The crowd: mostly middle-aged chowhounds, a few kids and college-age attendees, a few senior citizens who can't walk well, and a couple with 2 kids under 3, 1 in a wheelchair. I'm guessing anywhere from 20 to 45 people (most likely about 30).
Sadly, cost is a factor. And parking. But we have out-of-town guests, strained family dynamics, and wonderful friends who are showing us their support. We'll all need the meal for distraction and comfort and to make a painful day go smoothly.
Let me tell you what we've ruled OUT--China Village in Albany (good but too far away); the Mediterranean on College (too noisy and not great for large crowds); Mama's Royal Cafe (comforting but not good for a large crowd); Barneys (noisy, crowded and rude, rude, rude); Park Avenue Restaurant & Bar (excruciatingly slow); Cato's Ale house (steps and kind of rowdy for the occasion) and Fenton's (weirdly impersonal); Pearl of Siam (lovely but small for a crowd).
(I know--picky and cheap are a bad combo--but we're paying for it, we're unemployed due to caretaking and none of the rest of the family will chip in. My mom was HORRIFIED at the thought of paying to feed her guests. So we hope to hold the cost at $15 per head, but we'll pay more if we have to and put it on the credit card.)
Okay, it's a tall order but hey--you guys are CHOWHOUNDS!! For every event, I firmly believe there exists the perfect food venue. (I believe in this the way other people believe in True Love.) So, please, blessings to you Chowhounds--any suggestions??