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Affordable caterer or other party plan B?

mmeesme | Jan 18, 201108:02 PM

Please help me, Chowhounders! I live on the north side and was so excited to have an anniversary party this fall with about 75 guests at the lovely Mon Ami Gabi restaurant in Lincoln Park, but alas, I'm afraid that plan will fall through because the hours we wanted our event would require us to buy out the restaurant which was way out of our budget. So we are thinking of a plan B, renting out a park district building, the Columbus Park Refectory, and we also looked at Maxim's, both were a relatively decent deal for the space, but both required us to hire an outside caterer from a "Preferred Professional" list. I just got a quote back and was pretty floored by $100 a person for a buffet. We started out with a total budget of 4k, then sighed and fretted over 7k, but spending 8K on food before space rental and anything else is too much for us, we're not looking to have a wedding, just a memorable, no-stress time with an equally memorable meal. We are big "foodies" and as planning progresses, the food seems to fall into the background, and I don't want that to happen.

We were going to check out The Tavern in Libertyville, just because their dining room looked so unique (haven't tried the food yet), but it seems a few seats shy of our guest total, and I'm gun-shy to ask what they charge per person. Does anyone have any ideas for caterers or other options for celebration? We really did not want to go for Italian or Polish food, which unfortunately nixes out a lot of affordable options.

Pardon my ignorance; eloped to city hall, so I never planned a party this size. Maybe I'm not being realistic, but I figure where there's a will and an online discussion board, there's a way. Creativity welcomed, advice appreciated. SOS! I would really rather not cook on my anniversary. :-)

Mon Ami Gabi
2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

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