Local businesses have many options for holiday parties
Published: Monday, November 28, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
The holiday season means holiday parties for business owners and employees. These parties are a great reward for workers for a hard year's effort in a tight economy.
"A good holiday party can really improve morale," said Jennifer Jarvis, owner of the Riverworks Restaurant and Tavern in downtown Newmarket. The Riverworks hosts holiday parties of up to 65 guests in its upstairs dining rooms before 5 p.m., including weekends, and hosts get-togethers in private rooms or in its dining room for evening parties.
"For some companies, the holiday party is one of the few times that people from different departments get to socialize with each other, so it acts as a great team-building opportunity," Jarvis said. "And serving fresh, creative food is something that employees really appreciate."
Jarvis and her staff at the Riverworks know a lot about satisfying a variety of palettes affordably. She will typically ask a business manager for a budget, and then come up with a menu accordingly. Or, businesses can choose from Riverworks' catering menu, or even its regular menu, and the restaurant will come up with a price that won't have the business owner reaching for the Alka-Seltzer.
Either way, there is no fee for groups wishing to make use of Riverworks' dining room or private areas.
"It's our way of trying to accommodate businesses that want to celebrate the holidays, but have to closely watch their expenses," Jarvis said, whose restaurant offers a mobile catering service that raises the bar for offsite food quality. "We cater or deliver our homemade food for small and large companies, complete with tablecloths and a buffet line, and it's a nice, convenient treat for the staff."
For groups looking to hold a holiday party at one of the nicer spots in eastern New England, Clay Hill Farm Restaurant in Cape Neddick, Maine, is an extraordinary spot for a holiday party. It is the first restaurant in the country to be certified by the World Wildlife Federation as a natural wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary, and has since been deemed an environmental leader in the state of Maine. Private evening events for 30 or more can take full advantage of Clay Hill Farm's party menu - complete with salad, an entrée and dessert – while smaller groups can gather by the fireplace, and enjoy the use of Clay Hill Farm's gorgeous rooms, and its award-winning food and service while ordering from the regular menu.
Clay Hill Farm owner Jennifer McShera encourages companies to consider a co-op holiday party.
"Our ‘little-big' party concept of smaller businesses combining their resources to share entertainment and hors d'oeuvres allows businesses to reward the staff with not only a locally-sourced dinner, but also networking and socializing opportunities," McShera said. "It's tempting for small businesses to save a little money in the short term, but it's important to show appreciation to hard-working employees."
Two other holiday party venues that pride themselves on corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship are Robert's Maine Grill in Kittery, and Two Ceres Street in downtown Portsmouth. With an upstairs dining room overlooking scenic Spruce Creek, Robert's Maine Grill offers party organizers the ability to create a specialized menu and atmosphere. It's also a supremely green restaurant, as its developed an extensive storm water-treatment program to minimize contaminant flow into the Spruce Creek, and has reduced its waste by 95 percent through a comprehensive single-stream recycling program.
And Two Ceres Street Restaurant – considered by many to be downtown Portsmouth's premier martini bar – is no slouch when it comes to hosting elegant holiday parties. Featuring a beautiful fireplace, exposed beams, reclaimed wood artwork on the walls, and an inviting bar area, Two Ceres Street is rapidly becoming known as the spot in downtown Portsmouth to host a company or personal gathering that will have guests gushing about their experience.
Riverworks, Clay Hill Farm Restaurant, Robert's Maine Grill, and Two Ceres Street are all members of the Green Alliance, which connect local green businesses with burgeoning eco-conscious commercial and residential communities in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. Green Alliance members get discounts ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent off food (and in some cases, alcohol) from nightly menus at all of these restaurants, as well as 90 other businesses across the region.