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New Manteca banquet hall features two Le Bistro chefs
Marie Houston practices her toasting motion at the banquet table inside of The Rendezvous. The event hall opened up for business this week, and boasts two of Stocktons most regarded chefs in Rick Dunn and Tom Kiley of Le Bistro. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

It would be one thing if Marie Houston was simply offering another event facility inside of The Rendezvous – Manteca’s newest banquet and conference hall on North Main Street.

But by drawing in two famous Stockton executive chefs – Le Bistro’s Rick Dunn and Tom Kiley – Houston is trying to corner the market by focusing on the culinary aspects and using the beautiful new space to accent the possibilities that the space affords.

And considering that there is no charge for using the space itself and only for the catering service utilized for the special event, it is likely going to generate plenty of business as word regarding the brand new facility starts to spread.

“There are some places where you will pay upwards of $2,000 just to use the space for an event,” Houston said. “We didn’t want to do that here. We wanted to provide something for the customers and only charge them for whatever it is that they choose from the catering side of things.

“Manteca doesn’t have a whole lot of banquet options unless you’re talking about a restaurant that has a room off to the side. We wanted to change that and offer dining options from two chefs that have been extremely popular in Stockton for nearly 25 years.”

Adjacent to the Casino Real on North Main Street, The Rendezvous can serve upwards of 80 seated guests or 100 during a standing-only reception. Smaller banquets will also find the room to be more to their liking as it can be divided into smaller quadrants to keep with a more intimate vibe.

With her 20 years in event planning and the time that Dunn and Kiley have working together perfecting their French culinary delights, Houston feels strongly that their future customers will fall in love with the quaint atmosphere and the mouth-watering food – a special treat considering that the two kitchen mates sold their Stockton business staple in 2005 and planned on retiring.

“They had sold the restaurant with plans to retire, but when we approached them with this opportunity they were glad to be on board,” Houston said. “They will still stick to their French cooking roots, but there will also be some fusion cooking as well with some Asian and Cajun dishes as well.

“Right now it also looks like they’ll play a role in the fine dining restaurant that we’re looking at opening up on the other side of the building sometime next year. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays itself out.”

Of course, customer service will be right up there with offering a quality product in a pristine environment.

“I love being able to bring information to people about the food and explain the different nuances of the sauces and why it’s prepared the way it’s prepared. I like to help people pair wine,” Houston said. “Basically I just like helping people any way I can with their event – the hospitality aspect of it – and this gives me chance to do just that.”

The Rendezvous is located at 1357 N. Main Street. For additional information, or to find out how to book an event, call (209) 239-8790.