The holidays mean getting together with friends and family, enjoying good food and happy times. But that can mean a lot of planning, preparation, work and clean up. Hosting holiday family, friend and work functions at a restaurant leaves the heavy work to others, so you can sit back and enjoy your own party.
The Foundry Table & Tap located on the North Shore was the perfect location for Katherine Redington’s holiday gathering last December. “Each year, I try to choose a new location and neighborhood for my holiday gathering, and the Foundry fit the bill for what I was looking for. I really like that I was able to reserve a private bar space that had plenty of high-top seating for everyone. The Foundry did not require a room fee, which seems to be the norm,” Redington explained.
“Working with Rachel, the Events Manager, to book and plan was easy. She is responsive and flexible in allowing you to customize your offerings to whatever you want to provide your guests—from drinks, to adding appetizers, or having a sit-down dinner,” Redington continued. The Crafton resident also liked the location. “It was easily accessible for my guests because we are all scattered around the city and suburban areas,” she said.
The Foundry prides themselves on specializing in a “scratch” kitchen where everything is made in their kitchen or sourced, according to Michelle Bugg, co-owner of The Foundry. Bugg owns the restaurant with her husband, Rob, and brother, Andrew Stackiewicz. Bugg echoed Redington when she explained they will customize holiday cocktails and menus for guests.
The holiday décor is fun and casual, creating a warm, fun vibe, Bugg said, with three large trees that the staff take great pride in decorating. “We have a lot of flexibility with spaces. We can host an office brunch for 20, or a much larger group in the entire back of the restaurant,” Bugg said.
Looking for an unusual setting for a holiday gathering? How about a castle complete with 6’ suits of armor greeting those who walk in the front doors? Located in Ellwood City, Shakespeare’s at Olde Stonewall Golf Club was modeled after a 16th Century castle (don’t worry, it has all modern amenities) located on 269 acres that include a golf course. The castle boasts several party rooms for gatherings as small as ten up to the Grand Hall which can accommodate 250, according to Jackie Davin, Events Assistant Manager.
According to Davin, they go “all out” on holiday decorations and can work with guests on special themes in party rooms including upside down Christmas trees in one of their gathering spaces. The Grand Hall opens up to a heated balcony, and for those lucky enough to be there during a snowfall, they can drink holiday cocktails in warmth while watching the snow.
Davin said they will work with guests on menu options and the above-mentioned holiday cocktails to create a special holiday event. Shakespeare’s also hosts a few holiday events such as Breakfast with Santa.
How about a wine tasting or winery tour for your holiday gathering? Narcisi Winery, located ten miles north of Pittsburgh in Gibsonia, offers both. Sarah Karlo, Events Coordinator, said guests can chose to create a special event by adding either option, or select to come and pair the wines with meals or pairings chosen for their particular group at the family owned and operated winery. “We can do special pairings, for example, wines that pair nicely with Christmas cookies,” Karlo said. Winery tours include a visit to the vineyards, then guests move to the wine production area where they learn about the wine making process from start to finish. A private tasting follows. Guests can select just a tasting as well.
Narcisi guests can also have mini wine bottles with special labels created as favors for friends, family and employees. “You can add your own pictures, colors, fonts, sayings—whatever you would like,” Karlo said.
There are a variety of room and setting offerings at Narcisi for groups from six to 80 in the family owned and operated winery. In addition to their own wines, Narcisi Winery has some special touches. “One of our owners, Randy Narcisi, is an international pilot and brought back ideas and inspiration from the many places he has traveled to,” Karlo said. The restaurant is decorated for the holidays to help add festivity to events.
The grande dame of restaurants, LeMont, located on Mt. Washington, is well known as one of “the” places in Pittsburgh to celebrate special events, including holiday parties and gatherings for up to 250 guests.
“Christmas at LeMont Restaurant is simply magical because of a combination of the view, the decorations, the food, the conviviality, the traditions .... it feels like Christmas at LeMont. We even keep the decorations up into early January because some companies like to have their company holiday parties in early January since December is such a hectic month,” said Kathy Slencak, Special Projects, LeMont Restaurant.
According to Slencak, holiday parties feature an exciting new banquet menu with tiered pricing and a variety of new food choices. The decorations are especially important at LeMont. “The decorations were all designed with loving care by the late Anna Dunlap (co-owner) and designer Amy Storrs. There are trees, garlands, gifts under the trees—perfect photo ops for families—and the view with downtown all lit up for the holidays,” she said.
The iconic restaurant has become a must in many Pittsburghers’ traditions. “We have families that have Christmas dinner every year for generations—some come early and go to Midnight Mass—others go to afternoon Mass and have a later dinner. Many families, companies and friend groups celebrate year after year—a LeMont tradition. We also have special holiday cocktails at the bar and holiday desserts,” Slencak said.
City Winery is new to Pittsburgh this holiday season and looking forward to welcoming guests for gatherings according to Roy Smith, marketing and programming manager. The new venue is located in the Strip District Terminal which was once a produce terminal. The winery also serves as a concert venue for such artists as Judy Collins, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and An Acoustic Christmas with Over the Rhine—if you’d like to combine a concert with a gathering of friends.
City Winery can host a variety of group sizes up to 350 guests, according to Smith, in a fresh venue. As a special memento, they will also create wine bottles with specialty labels for your guests to take home. City Winery features their own locally made wines, an extensive menu and full bar and will assist guests in pairing wines with foods for a special holiday event, Smith explained.
In addition to private parties and events, the full restaurant and concerts, City Winery also hosts special events and fundraisers to benefit the community including A Very Special Christmas 2 on December 19th to benefit Special Olympics Three Rivers Region.
Need more information?
www.thefoundrypgh.com or 412-930-0744
Shakespeare’s Restaurant & Pub:
www.shakespearesrestaurant.com or 724 – 572-4653
www.narcisiwinery.com or 724- 444-4744
www.lemontpittsburgh.com or 412- 412-431-3100
City Winery Pittsburgh:
https://pittsburgh.citywinery.com or 412- 246-1000