Last year for my company holiday party, I planned a progressive dinner at favorite local restaurants, and it was a huge hit. For those not familiar with the progressive idea, the evening starts with apps at one restaurant, entrees at another, and dessert and drinks at another, etc.
We started our evening tour at the Dining Studio for champagne and then boarded the tricked-out limo bus, and it was off to The Red Stag for fried smelt and other nibbles. After that, we re-boarded the bus and went to Little Szechuan in St Paul and thoroughly gorged on food that most of my workers had never had or thought to order: beef tendon salad (my favorite!) and diced rabbit "big sister style," among other things. Then, back to the limo to finish the party at Sushi Tango. I am not a dessert guy, so sushi figured to be the best dessert option . . . I am planning and paying after all.
This year, after surveying my underlings, dark overlord that I am, the minions unanimously declared we reprise last year’s extravaganza . . . easy enough, right? You would think that in this economy, most local restaurants would be drooling over a party of twenty-five foodies in the food service industry. Plus, we all show up at once, pre-order food, eat, drink, and get out of your dining room in approximately one hour. I called four local favorites last week and left messages for either the event planner, hosts, or managers, to no avail. I am not saying they did not have room for us, I wouldn’t know since they failed to call me back. One restaurant did eventually call me back, five days later! Well, I say, their loss.
This year we will start at the underrated (I know, I always say that) Craftsman Restaurant for charcuterie, cheese, and pickles. Then off to Pancho Villa for margaritas and relatively authentic Mexican fare, then to Sushi Tango again. And this year, for dessert . . . Black Sheep Pizza (I disagree with Adam Platt, this pizza is worth the drive). For us, this is a great way to get all my employees in one place, switching seats often, and sampling food that they may not ordinarily eat. Try the progressive dinner; it makes it easy to please all palates and makes for great discussion.