Category: Entertaining, Tips & Guides


While graduation parties are filling up our June and July weekends here at Nino’s, there are so many other parties going on around town. Looking back, I heard recently that some friends had a Detroit Indy Race Party on Belle Isle. They took their party to Belle Isle, complete with black-and-white checkered tablecloths and orange cones.

Looking forward, Detroit will host the APBA Gold Cup Hydroplane races on the Detroit River July 11-13th. It’s just another opportunity to celebrate the fun activities in the city with a party.

Closer to home, by the time this blog is posted, Father’s Day, a day for family picnics, will be behind us, but looking forward there are always Fourth of July picnics, pool parties, company picnics and birthdays that will line up throughout the summer.

The themes are endless for whatever age group celebration you are looking to host. Just recently, a good friend was telling me about the 90th birthday party planned for my friend’s mom. What a reason to celebrate!

Pinterest is definitely the go-to site for themed ideas these days. You can absolutely find fun and creative ideas on that site. Have you visited Nino’s Pinterest page?

So do you want to throw a party? Do you have the time to put this together?

  • If you want to cook, focus on the main course and fake the rest. Someone came in just last week and ordered beef tenderloin, seasoned and slightly pre-cooked. She was going to re-heat it. She then ordered her shrimp platter, crab cakes and twice-baked potatoes to accompany her meal. As her veggie choice, she selected our Grilled and Chilled Vegetable Platter, a #1 hit of the season. She intended to set it out early as part of her appetizers while her company enjoyed time on the lake.
  • Have you set a budget? Choosing the right timing for the party can help defray costs. A brunch lends itself to less-expensive ingredients (eggs, fruit and breakfast breads). Or how about cocktails and hors d’oeuvres? In my experience, folks don’t expect as much food when presented this way. People typically plan this event for just a little later in the evening, after the dinner hour. Your guests might possibly grab a light bite of food at home before coming to the party.
  • Indoor space is sometimes a concern. Lure your company outside with tubs of ice and drinks or even a complete bar. You can bring appetizers out and set them out on a brightly decorated table. Picture a small tent or shady area, with a round table of sorts to be welcoming from any direction of the yard. When it comes to comfort, set out lawn chairs, blankets or even beach towels as a fun option when your seating is limited. Remember to stock your outdoor space with party essentials like plates, cups, silverware, etc.  A basket with sunscreen and bug repellant is good for any time of the day. Sweatshirts, light jackets or light blankets can help the party last into the evening hours.

Here are some fun ideas I sometimes use when I want to throw together a party:

  • Adult Piñata Night: Grab a themed piñata, fill it with candies of the past, and let the adults have some fun. Who wouldn’t want to take a whack at something and not cause trouble for himself?  After a stressful week, it’s a great way to unwind.
  • Adult BBQ: How about some fun ice cubes? Fill an ice tray with water, and drop in fresh raspberries, blueberries, limes, oranges or any other seasonal fruit. Then freeze them. These ice cubes are a great addition to a cocktail party or even fresh lemonade or iced tea. Chef Pete recently wrote a blog on this and described even more ideas in “New Cubes” eight recipe ideas for untraditional ice cubes.
  • Salt at the Sweet Table: Set up a popcorn bar along with your candy table. Fill a variety of apothecary jars with different flavors of homemade or store-bought popcorn. Set small bags near the jars and allow your friends to fill them up to take home.
  • Movie Under the Stars: Using a computer and a projector screen that can be combined with your laptop, show a movie on your garage door, and invite the neighbors over. Have them bring their own lawn chairs.   You can even create the popcorn bar from the above suggestion to enjoy at the movies.


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