A beautifully set table. The perfect, soft glow of light. A fine glass of wine. A tempting dish of incredible food. Engaging conversation. A memory made with a loved one or friend.
There's something magical about a great dining experience. During this time of social distancing, we may not be able to meet inside our favorite restaurants, but we do have the ability to create an amazing restaurant experience at home.
Here are some ideas to help you plan a restaurant quality dinner at home that feels as special as dining out (or even better).
Candle Lit Romance
Set the table: Pull out the wine glasses, cloth napkins, tablecloth and candles to create a dining table with an upscale, romantic vibe. Bonus points if you have both votives and candle sticks to bring to the table. Light them all, dim your lamps and prepare for romance. Fresh roses or orchids in a glass vase will add even more romance to your table. Can’t access flowers right now? Get creative with faux flowers or small plants you already have at home.
Cue the music: When it comes to creating the right backdrop for your restaurant style dinner at home, music really sets the tone. For a romantic at-home dinner, try playing soft and soothing music that won’t overpower intimate conversation. Light jazz, soft piano, acoustic ballads...whatever you and your dining partner prefer. Make it a total home run by creating a songlist filled with tunes that mean something to you and your loved one.
What's on the menu: An upscale dining experience calls for an impressive meal. The good news? Creating a multiple course dinner doesn’t have to be difficult - you can have everything delivered to your door. Plan to incorporate a delicious appetizer, a special main course, elevated side dishes and something amazing for dessert.
Extra touches: Add personalized place-card to your dining partner’s seat when you set your table. A small, sweet note to your significant other is sure to make them feel appreciated, and drive the romantic vibe home.
Family Game Night
Set the table: This dinner at home is all about fun! Have your favorite board games ready to play after the meal, and bring out your trivia cards for some family dinner fun. If kids are joining your dinner, then using plasticware is far better than setting out your finest. If you have the material, try covering everyone’s table setting with a large swatch of paper (secure each piece to the table) and provide plastic cups with crayons for some coloring (or “hang-man” game) fun.
Cue the music: Play upbeat, kid-friendly music everyone can enjoy. Try a playlist that includes a few of each person’s favorite happy or silly songs. Creating a playlist could be a fun activity for kids (and grownups) who may find themselves bored at home.
What's on the menu: Every parent knows that even the most easy-going kids can be picky eaters. For a family dinner at home, focus on kid-friendly foods like Lobster Rolls, and don’t forget to add a sweet treat!
Extra touches: Create a first-place ribbon or official-looking award to hand out to the person with the most game “wins” of the evening. A bit of friendly competition always makes things extra fun.
Best BBQ Joint
Set the table: This tablescape is the most casual, because we all know the best BBQ tends to get messy. If you can’t eat your BBQ outside, then bring the outside picnic vibe in! Pull out your gingham check picnic table cover, or cover your table with a clean, brightly patterned sheet you don’t mind getting messy. Bring out your mason jars, striped straws, baskets, paper plates and melamine ware - and since this is BBQ, don’t forget to provide plenty of napkins :)
Cue the music: Throw on your favorite country western tunes, folk music or bluegrass. Any music that gives you that “down home” feel is perfect for this shindig.
What's on the menu: Since you’re throwing a BBQ at home, you aren’t limited to steak or burgers (though we recommend indulging if you can). Try something new and exciting on your grill, such as grilled lobster tails or grill up some Aussie style shrimp on the barbee. Maine Lobster Rolls also make a delicious and unexpected addition to any BBQ.
Extra touches: Brew up some southern-style sweet tea or make fresh squeezed lemonade. Find the best authentic cornbread recipe, and give it a go. Ever notice that the best BBQ joints always seem to have the best cornbread?
We’re here to help
We hope these ideas inspire you to create an incredible restaurant experience at home. If you're inspired to spoil someone special with a romantic dinner at home, check our [Dine-In] specials - perfect for creating an upscale that’s sure to impress.