Restaurants come in all shapes and sizes, so when planning a night out with a big group it's crucial to know where to go. Some restaurants just aren't built for the party, and nothing is as much of a buzzkill as having to wait an hour in order to fit your group somewhere in the dining room even if you do have a reservation. Fortunately, however, there are restaurants that fill this niche and know how to accommodate business happy hours, birthdays, or just a big group of friends getting together because it’s Tuesday. These places come fully equipped with large dining areas, a well-crafted menu, and an organized multi tasking staff.
Headed by acclaimed chef Ford Fry, No. 246 has some of the best-trained staff around; and when it comes to hosting parties, they really bring their A-game. With Italian inspired dishes, which focus on healthier options like seasonal and locally-grown veggies, your party can be sure they'll be well fed with the best ingredients. The space is well laid out for large groups of people, with plenty of table room, a cozy bar and large windows to add the feeling of more room. On top of the extraordinary staff and sleek atmosphere, Fry offers shareable dishes on his Family Style menu, including Chicken Scallopino with tagliatelle, capers, brown butter and toast. No. 246.com.
When it comes to restaurants who handle large groups on a regular basis, you really can't get much better than a hibachi grill-- especially when you include as many comfortable commodities as Nakato. The staff go above and beyond for their diners, not only in hospitality but in raw skill with the grill and their cooking shows. With authentic Japanese cuisine and large windows that expose beautiful zen gardens, Nakato immerses its visitors in a tranquil, Eastern environment. Parties can ask for the “private room”, which isn't exactly private in literal terms, but allows guests to kick off their shoes, get cozy on the floor and enjoy the experience in a more personal, laid-back space, and traditional space. Nakato.com
Tin Roof Cantina
North Druid Hills
Some of the best places for bringing your large party are the places with that neighborhood bar and grill feeling, the kind of place where everybody knows your name and you can kick back and let loose with your friends. This is the inspiration behind Tin Roof Cantina. With live music, trivia, 12 TVs and two side patios with tables that conveniently fit together for large groups, this restaurant is built for a good time. The hosting and waiting staff also implement this friendly, fun energy and actually put effort into the little things like learning your name. A Team Split favorite sharing plate at Tin Roof is their Fully Loaded Chicken Nachos. But also be prepared to load up on a whopping helping of Tin Roof Fajitas and choose from a large assortment of delicious adult beverages. TinRoofCantina.com.
Industry Tavern serves American favorites like a gooey, cheesy pizza alongside 13 craft beers on tap and vintage cocktails. Some food is made for celebrations at conception, and nothing tops that list quite like pizza: it's shareable, delicious and oh-so satisfying. This place has some of the best pizza in town, as well as many other American dishes like turkey or beef hamburgers and classic fish tacos. The atmosphere here is mellow, like a favorite bar in town, with trendy features, plenty of seating room and a large, wrap around bar in the center. It's a great place to catch up with friends, fit a large group comfortably and have some fun watching a game or playing Wednesday night trivia. IndustryTavern.com.
When you’re really looking to have some fun with your group, it's only logical to find a place with a game room, something like an adult playground. On top of serving bar-and-grill favorites like specialty hot dogs made from Kobe beef and pan-roasted pork chops with cheddar chipotle grits, Ormsby's offers a game room complete with pool tables, bocce, shuffleboard, and board games. This keeps the party moving and everyone entertained and mingling. The waitstaff seem like they were born to serve groups. They are amazingly used to people changing seats, somehow keeping track of everyone and writing a separate tab for each person. It's like they draw a little picture of your face on the back of the pad to identify your bill or something. Ormsbys.com.
Tavernpointe is a relatively new hot spot for classic American dishes with a global flare of flavors, especially with Latin American implements. Built by the restaurateur partners who opened Grain in December of 2014, including Jeff Newsham and Drew Van Leuvan, this restaurant has taken the old building space where LPC used to dwell. The cozy and casual atmosphere is beautifully decorated with brick and blonde wood, as well as long, narrow tables to accommodate large crowds. The staff is always at the top of their game making everyone feel like the most important person in the group by being friendly and accommodating. Headed by chef Van Leuvan, the menu includes unique American dishes like Black Potato Gnocchi with braised rabbit, bacon, leeks, carrots and white bolognese. Taverpointe.com
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Writer Bio: Jared Rigsby is a writer and graphic designer with a BA in Writing/Literature from Middle Tennessee State University. A longtime freelancer, he is published monthly through Dish Magazine (dishmag.com) and develops logos and websites through Neochromatic.com.