We recently got the chance to chat with Heather Uri, the Soirees and Private Dining Manager at Brasserie Jo, over a decadent four course dinner. We grilled her on how she got into private dining, her food & drink recommendations, the celebrities she’s encountered throughout the years and more. Read on to get a behind-the-scenes look at Brasserie Jo and be sure to visit the restaurant and the rooftop pool at The Colonnade this summer.
How did you become a private dining manager?
I was doing weddings in New York City. I decided I wanted to move to Boston and was interested in doing something more intimate, so I applied for this job at Brasserie Jo!
How did you get hired at Brasserie Jo?
I think I had the right personality for the job! The restaurant needed someone who could take good care of a customer and sell the experience. As far as the logistics of food, dining, etc., that could all be taught.
What has been the biggest difference between organizing weddings and working in private dining?
When it comes to private dining, people tend to be more laid back so the events are generally“less tense” than weddings. You can have more fun, be more creative and think outside the box. It just boils down to the fact that most private dining events are usually “lower stakes” than weddings.
What’s the most fun event you’ve done?
Le Maître did a full restaurant buy-out once that was a blast. We had sushi stations, AV, and presentations – I enjoyed this event because I was able to be more creative with the planning, for instance by suggesting certain stations and menus and drawing out a floor plan that made the most sense for the evening.
How important is private dining at Brasserie Jo?
It’s a huge part of the Brasserie Jo experience. Private dining in any restaurant gives diners a chance to experience the place in a new light. It offers diners a different, more intimate environment to enjoy with their friends and it gives them the opportunity to create a restaurant within a restaurant.
Have you had any famous or memorable guests in the restaurant?
Pedro Martinez just left! Some other guests of note include Kevin Spacey, Val Kilmer, Frank Sinatra. Matthew Slater, Christopher Lloyd, Christopher Walken, the Fonz, Parks & Rec–Ron. Celebrities love to diner here. No one bothers them and the staff respects their privacy. The great thing about Brasserie Jo is it’s in a large hotel but it feels like “restaurant next door”.
What’s one of the biggest challenges presented by private dining?
Trying to explain to people the difference between the experience of private dining room, the service, the custom attention, custom menus. Also, private dining doesn’t have to be a very expensive affair, which is something people don’t always realize.
What are some of your favorite dishes?
My favorite section of the menu is the seafood. The skate wing is fantastic – simple pomme puree with butter and caper sauce, to die for.
If you were to recommend any drink off the menu, what would it be?
Definitely the French 75.
If you could have dinner with any one person?
Hillary Clinton. I did some volunteer work for her campaign when she was in Massachusetts.
Anything else you want people to know about Brasserie Jo?
We have in-house AV for all your presentation needs and we can do private, kid-friendly birthdays with coloring books and crayons. Oh yeah, and don’t miss our executive chef on Food Network on June 19th as a finalist in a cook off competition!
Tell us a bit more about the Colonnade.
The Colonnade Hotel has the only rooftop pool in Boston – and we just did a million dollar renovation to it 2 years ago. It opens in 2 weeks, just in time for Memorial Day. A series of popups event will be held up there. One that’s in the works will be with Chef Andy Husbands highlighting his new restaurant, Smoke Shop BBQ.