Sunday, September 24, 2023
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Southern Suburbs

By Tricia Despres

The suburbs south of the Twin Cities area have always attracted their share of tourists and out-of-state visitors thanks to the expansive Mall of America in Bloomington. Yet, surrounding suburbs have also become an attractive destination, offering their own unique amenities that have become quite appealing to meeting planners throughout the state.

Check out a sampling of a few distinctive meeting venues just south of the Twin Cities.

Burnsville Performing Arts Center

Stroll into the immaculate Burnsville Performing Arts Center and chances are your eyes will immediately focus in on the two-story glass atrium, showcasing spectacular views of Nicollet Commons Park, the Minnesota River Valley and the striking Minneapolis skyline. Home to countless stage productions and cultural events throughout the year, the center has become quite a meeting destination since first opening in 2009.

Offering free parking and partnerships with a number of offsite caterers, the complex includes two theaters: a 1,000-plus seat Main Proscenium Theatre and an intimate 150-seat Black Box Theatre. The facility also features a 2,000-square-foot art gallery and a number of smaller meeting and special event rooms. “We just recently began offering the ability to hold dinner receptions on the main stage, essentially looking out into the audience area,” explains Kandice Nelson, director of marketing for the Burnsville Performing Arts Center. “Our green room area is also an interesting space, located in our backstage area for small, possible breakout type meetings.”

Eagan Community Center

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013, the Eagan Community Center offers a little bit of something for everyone. Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking an oak forest and breathtaking fountain, Eagan Community Center serves as a practical and affordable option for various meeting needs.

“With several versatile spaces, seating is available for small, intimate meetings or large groups of up to 400 people,” explains Dawn Walz Rough of the Eagan Convention & Visitors Bureau. “And unlike many other centers, the Eagan Community Center is laid out with the inclusion of a pre-function space and a large outdoor patio area, promoting quite an open feel.”

The center has also established relationships with a number of designated professional vendors to serve food and beverages with a wide variety of choices and courteous staff.

Enjoy! Restaurant & Bar
Apple Valley

With a stylish, metropolitan feel, Enjoy! Restaurant & Bar can make you feel you are smack dab in the middle of the city. Just south of the river in Apple Valley, Enjoy! Restaurant might be best known for its menu of scrumptious steaks, pasta and seafood. Yet, it’s the ambiance of the restaurant’s private dining and meeting rooms that continue to intrigue meeting planners throughout the area.

“We offer completely private areas that can be set up in a large number of ways,” explains Cindy Meyers, general manager. “The space is unique, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and balcony doors that can open to look out at our Waters Edge patio and draw in gorgeous natural light during every season.”

“Much of our client base is within the financial and banking sector,” explains Meyers. “They like our proximity to the airport, and also enjoy taking advantage of nearby Eagan’s wide variety of hotels.”

Lost Spur Golf and Event Center

The Lost Spur Golf and Event Center was specifically created to fulfill some of the specific needs of the Eagan community. “Companies are constantly looking for rooms that hold more than 200 people, so we specifically made sure we would be able to accommodate up to 400 guests,” explains Geri Lockrem, general manager of the Lost Spur Golf and Event Center. “We also saw a need for a banquet facility outside of the grounds of a hotel. So far, people seem to be very pleased with the facility.”

The unique design of Lost Spur’s main level (it’s a two-level facility) can be partitioned off into two private rooms or opened into a single free-flowing level of guest service. The lower level then utilizes one large banquet room. Each level is complete with full-bar service, dance floor and restrooms. “A company can come in for a breakfast meeting, enjoy a quick round of golf and have all of their employees home by 5 p.m.,” explains Lockrem. “It really offers an ideal setup for companies and meeting planners.”

Mediterranean Cruise Café

With one of the most dramatic entryways in the area, and known as one of the top restaurants in the Twin Cities, the Mediterranean Cruise Café offers something a bit more rich and unique when looking for a meeting space in the southern suburb region.

Guests will get a break from the usual modern American restaurant surroundings with a warm, ravishing blend of Middle Eastern décor, ranging from Moroccan-styled arches and lamps to Arabic-styled medallions to Mediterranean-styled chandeliers, murals and Spanish tile. And that’s just on the inside. A separate entrance leads to an outdoor patio that wraps around two sides of the building, complete with two fireplaces, a fountain, two covered gazebos and an outdoor lounge area. (Check out the hookah bar menu for patio use).

Originally located in Eagan in 1979, the Ansari brothers from Jerusalem were proud to serve the community for many years. In 2009, Jamal Ansari, and sons Khalid and Rhami, decided to bring a whole new dining experience to Burnsville.

Featuring a unique Mediterranean menu filled with a variety of original delicacies from Jerusalem, Palestine and Greece, the Mediterranean Cruise Café offers a dining space that holds up to 200 people and a banquet space that holds 80. “We are most definitely a hub for events here in the southern metro,” explains Ansari, who also notes that many people like to stay for the always interesting belly dancing entertainment on Wednesdays through Sunday evenings, and Fridays during lunch.