Party Animals Unite : The Venue Report at Prep Kitchen
Cortnie Fausner
byCortnie Fausner

The reporters at The Venue Report are clearly party animals and enjoy hosting a celebration every now and again. Before officially entering into Spring we have to share our Venue Report 2014 celebration at super cool restaurant Prep Kitchen, Little Italy with friends and photogs Joielala Photographie. This restaurant in San Diego has a private dining room venue and us reporters got our swerve on. Party Animals Unite, right?!


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen
New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


The Venue: Why did we pick Prepkitchen? We love the feel of this charming little neighborhood hotspot. Little Italy in San Diego is the most darling area, and Prepkitchenfits right in with their mantra of "Great Food & Great People." Prepkitchen has grown into a quintessential neighborhood spot serving great seasonal comfort food in super relaxed environment and relatively speaking, it's easy on the wallet. We think this encompasses what a true celebration is all about. The vibe here feels as if you are eating in a chef's kitchen and they serve up delicious libations from wine to whiskey.

Capacity: The private dining room venue at Prepkitchen in Little Italy can accommodate up to 28 people, and has a 47" LED TV. Restaurant buyout options available.

Fees: A $500 Food & Beverage minimum Sunday - Thursday; $1250 minimum Friday & Saturday.


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


When throwing any type of shindig, a party animal sets the tone with fun invitations. Laura Hooper Calligraphydelivered on these fun navy, gold, white and black calligraphed invitations. We came up with some fun invitation wording:

"You are only as strong as the tables you dance on, the drinks you mix and the friends you roll with. Act like Confetti and Throw yourself into 2014".


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


Venue Report Tip: When throwing a shindig at a private dining room venue, you want the decor and amount of work to be minimal so you can focus on the sipping, savoring, and socializing part! We didn't want to deal with floral arrangements or lots of little design elements.. We just went with fun lighting to set the mood. We layered the tables with strands and strands of bulbs and old school battery candles we bought at Wal-Mart! We gave them a teeny makeover by spray painting them and then drawing patterns on them with paint pens.


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen

New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


Venue Report Tip: We had a predetermined menu figured out with Prepkitchen so that we didn't need to facilitate taking orders for our large group when we were there. We are all about sharing and family style feasts! Since we knew the menu items/names that would be served that evening,  we created serving platters with chalkboard paint and then wrote the name of the items onto the wood chalk board. This way as the plates were passed around, everyone knew what it was!


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


One of the serving menus we passed around had a really fun cheers on it. "Drink freely and don't worry how much you spill in 2014". We also created menus inspired by the Black Eyed Peas song "Let's Get It Started".

Meanwhile.. Prepkitchen started pouring drinks and prepping food...


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


We created a platter with silly drink names that would resonate with our guests and let them choose from an array of freshly muddled cocktails as the tray was passed around.


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


Venue Report Tip: When throwing a party at any celebration location, try and utilize the existing venue decor as much as possible. Prepkitchen has a fireplace overflowing with books as the focal point of the room, so we just added tea lights to highlight the area.


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen
New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


We continued to drink.. and eat, and eat, and drink..


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen
New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen
New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


Venue Report Tip: Throwing a dinner party is all about fun and friends right? Sharing is caring right? If letting your guests have free reign over the menu scares you and your wallet, order a family style feast and pitchers of drinks. That way you will have a pre-determined budget it mind and you can all taste a variety of different items on the menu.


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


A group cheers is a necessity at any celebration.


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen
New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


Laura Hooper Calligraphy also created a calligraphy toast that we found via Greygoose Vodka.

to nearest * to dearest
to the crew * to cahoots
to the ones who've been there *to the ones who'll be there
to dropping everything *to saying anything
to no judgements * to no doubts
to loyalty * to trust
to favore * to lifelongs
to been too long * to nothing's changed
to having history * to having your back
to moving away * to never too far
to growing up * to settling down
to your second family * to friends
to celebrating the holidays with those who matter most.


New Years Dinner Party at Prep Kitchen


Summary of Tips for an Easy Dinner Party at a Private Dining Venue:

1. Instead of flowers on the tables (which require arranging, prep, and cost) we used edison bulb strands as a garland down the center! Bonus: it adds an amazing ambiance.
2. The only flowers we used were floral wreaths for the guests to wear. We bought them from Eucca Floral Studio– cost effective and they will ship anywhere in the US.
3. Use fun calligraphy menus. We separated each course out with the lyrics from The Black Eyed Peas “Let’s Get it Started”. Laura Hooper Calligraphyhas amazing styles, is speedy and one of our faves to work with.
4. We brought the electric candle back.. we spray painted them navy blue and then we drew patterns and wrote messages with a gold paint pen like “cheers” and “chin chin” on them. You can buy them for $1 ea and they will stay lit for the life of the battery!

*The Venue Report is here to help you find a location for your own dinner party bash at the private dining rooms of restaurants/hotels in your city.

Produced by The Venue Report | Blog // Styling: The Venue Report // Photography: Joielala Photographie // Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy // Venue: Prepkitchen, Little Italy // Floral head wreaths: Eucca Floral Studio

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