PLAZA DEL TORO is definitely at the top of our list if you are looking for an intimate urban industrial space for your event. Their local chef driven cuisine and hand crafted cocktails are unmatched. Your guests will be talking about this space and the amazing food for a long time. The huge windows, wooden farm tables, and library ladder bar are sure to win you over if their impeccable customer service and attention to detail doesn’t first. This is an urban & industrial space with a warm & intimate feel…that radiates from both the space itself and the team that runs it. Katie sat down with us recently to tell us more!
Captain’s Table with custom tablescape. Photo credit: Brandyn Morely
Where are you located and what kind of venue are you in general? (Ballroom, golf course, winery, garden, farm, industrial space, waterfront, etc)?
We are an urban industrial private event space. More specifically, we are a gastronomical society and private dining venue in the industrial Central Eastside neighborhood. Our address 105 SE Taylor Street, Portland OR 97214.
Can you briefly describe your property/space including all the indoor and outdoor options?
Our space was created by restaurateur John Gorham, chef and owner of Portland’s celebrated Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Tasty n Alder, Shalom Y’all, BYH Burgers and Mediterranean Exploration Company. We are indoor only and suited for a variety of social gatherings including small weddings, rehearsal dinners, family style dinners, cocktail receptions, networking functions, business luncheons, and holiday events.
Our venue includes custom built dining tables, an open fire grill, an oyster bar, a professional DJ booth, audio visual equipment, a coat check room, noise-dampening walls, and double-paned floor to ceiling windows.
Photo credit: Deyla Huss Photography
What is the maximum number of guests that can be seated for dinner and do you one caterer or a preferred list of caterers to choose from?
Our renovated industrial space can accommodate family style dinners for up to 100 guests (anything under 85 is more comfortable in my opinion), or up to 150 guests for a cocktail reception. We provide all the food and bar details. Outside weddings cakes are welcome since we do not offer in house wedding cakes. Guests can hire whomever as long as it’s from a professional baker or commissary kitchen. We charge a $4 per person cake plating fee.
Do you offer lower rental rates for off season months and/or non-Saturday weddings and does your venue have a rain plan?
Our rates remain the same year round. Based on a 4 hour event, we have an event minimum of $2000 for a Sunday-Thursday and $5000 for a Friday or Saturday. No rain plan as we are indoors! In fact, our busiest wedding season is fall-spring.
Photo credit: image provided by PLAZA DEL TORO
How long has your venue been hosting weddings and events?
Since we opened back in April 2015. Even though we have hosted small ceremonies here in the past, we are best suit the needs for the food and beverage side of things.
And in your opinion, why is Portland (and surrounding areas) such an amazing place to plan a wedding?
Because you can really go with a wide variety of surroundings. You can elope on top of Mt. Hood and have a cocktail reception at an industrial space in the city. Or get married under a city bridge and dine at a venue featuring some of Portland’s most talented chefs. We also have so much natural beauty and Pacific Northwest native foliage and flowers are right at our fingertips. Plus, the Portland rain makes for the best photographs!
Photo credit: A Fist Full of Bolts
What are a few things that make your venue unique and/or seem to attract wedding couples?
Our space is quite unique because we literally offer a turn key venue. With all the other things to juggle during wedding planning, my goal is to make it as easy as possible. We include all our custom made tables and chairs, our DJ booth set up is amazing, we handle set up & break down for you as well as offer candles and print your menus. Plus, our executive chef Mike Kessler and Pastry Chef Ashley Claybaugh are without a doubt the most talented chefs in the city so your guests will be raving about this dinner for years to come. Not to mention we are Chef Gorham’s test kitchen for him to test new recipes and host our own house promoted events. With all their culinary travels, we are constantly adding custom dishes to the menus that you may not be able to enjoy at the restaurants.
How would you describe the importance of the venue decision for couples and at what point in their wedding planning process should they be looking and booking their venue?
I think they have to shop around and meet with the coordinator, get a feel for the space prior to committing. Get to know your coordinator, make sure it’s a good fit for what you’re envisioning. It’s important to get a feel for size of the space and to make sure that it has enough flexibility if your guest count potentially increases. You wouldn’t want to book a venue that you fear is slightly too small because you never know if the guest count could increase late in the game.
Photo credit: A Fist Full of Bolts
What is the best part about managing a wedding venue?
To be able to work with some of the best of the best in the service industry. I have an incredible group of chefs, event lead managers, servers and bartenders that truly make my job easy and inspire me every day.
What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?
Convincing them to hire a DJ! It seems to be the one thing they want to leave that out of the budget. Hiring a DJ is money well spent, especially since PLAZA DEL TORO has a whole in house DJ booth set up. I see a lot of groups want to manage their own playlists which could be up to 4-5 different lists plus a first dance which is a big detail to worry about on your wedding night. Here at PLAZA DEL TORO, my number one recommendation is DJ Jimbo (Jim Sandberg). He is the nicest guy, plays all vinyl, and knows how to play all the funky beats. Plus, if he is already committed with another gig, he’ll recommend another DJ that would suit their needs.
Photo credit: A Fist Full of Bolts
What are a few of the most important things that couples should ask their venue before booking?
- Read the contract! Ask to see the agreement/contract to review all terms prior to committing to book. It’s great to see all the venue’s terms so you are aware of any pertinent details that you might have missed to discuss with the coordinator. Ask your coordinator to review your full event details and estimate 1 week prior to make sure the venue has all the current event details.
- Discuss alcohol consumption in advance or have the coordinator put together a full estimate with beverages so that gratuity or the service charge is included. This way you see a whole number. You wouldn’t want to budget for everything and forget about service fees, especially if they are in the 19%-22% range.
- Ask about credit card transaction fees for large amounts charged to your credit card. Final payments made with checks avoid a potential additional fee you may not be budgeting for and sometimes can be hidden in contracts.
- If you didn’t hire a day of coordinator, ask someone in your party to make executive decisions the day of as the point contact person. This way if a venue coordinator or party manager at your venue needs to ask a question or obtain confirmation about something the night of, you won’t be bothered! It’s your wedding day after all!
Photo credit: Tim Parsons
What is your best advice for wedding clients during their venue search or in general?
Look at their social media pages, see real wedding photos that have happened in that venue. You may find a florist, photo booth company, or a photographer that you fall head over heels in love with. This way you can get a feel for what the venue looks like in action. See other decor, flowers or fun activities that others have done in past. Make note of things you loved and didn’t care for.
Pinterest is amazing. Trust me, I’ve logged many hours of my life on Pinterest. All I can say is be careful and don’t let staged/styled weddings on Pinterest lead you into a tunnel of unlikely or unrealistic expectations. The more simple the more happy you’ll be leading up to the big day.
Is there anything else you want couples or other wedding professionals to know about you or your venue?
We have a lot of fun and embrace cultures and regions around the world. If you are curious, come over for a tour! Or to see our space in action, add your email to our mailing list to be invited to our own events. We love to bring people together and we would love to welcome you over.
What is the best way for couples to check out your venue online and/or set up a tour to visit you in person?
Thank you Katie! We love you and your awesome space!
Featured image on this post: Photo credit: Morrow Hammack Photography