Stressed by Wedding Venues, Eau Claire? Go here.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

By Angie & Jeff

May 10, 2024

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Planning any large event can be stressful. Planning a wedding can often take months of effort deciding where the ceremony should be, where the wedding reception should be, what food should be served, and where your guests will stay after they’ve celebrated with you, eating decadent food, and dancing to the timeless chicken-dance song or polka music.

If you follow us, you know we travel often and enjoy memorable food all over the world. The food prepared at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse at Holiday Inn Eau Claire South stands up to those unforgettable foods and it’s a place we can get to without traveling thousands of miles!

In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the Holiday Inn Eau Claire South has a wedding venue located conveniently close to many local attractions right here in the Chippewa Valley, and also just minutes from Chippewa Falls. The Holiday Inn Eau Claire South has it all to rid you of the stress of planning your wedding and make your event a perfect wedding that is stress-free. The venue is also perfect for any Eau Claire conference.

They have decadent food which is catered by their on-site restaurant, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. In addition, they have elegant ballroom space with capacity for 300 people and this space can be divided into 4 smaller rooms depending on the needs of your event. And, of course, they have comfortable hotel rooms, including a bridal suite, where you and your guests can tuck in for the night after your beautiful wedding event winds down and you are ready for a good night’s sleep.

Beyond this, Holiday Inn Eau Claire South has a full team of professional staff members who will work with you to make your wedding the premiere experience that you and your guests will remember for years to come. The team will help you well in advance with planning for your event. Leading up to the day of your wedding, they will set up the event space and will even help you decorate the space. They will also arrange food and beverage and will help you set up a group block of rooms for your guests at the hotel. Holiday Inn Eau Claire South is YOUR one-stop-shop for a stress-free event!

Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse

So many vivid memories start with delectable food. The Holiday Inn Eau Claire South is very lucky indeed to have Executive Chef Jared Hughley on staff at its on-site restaurant, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. Chef Hughley brings excitement to the plate with visually stunning food and astonishingly tasty goodness to the dishes he and his team prepare.

We had the opportunity to partake in a tasting of some of Chef Hughley’s dishes and as we are writing this now we are craving more of this excellent food.

House-Made Salad, Warm Focaccia Bread, and Dipping Oil Prepared at Tableside

We started the tasting with a house-made salad of fresh greens and vegetables and a loaf of warm house-made focaccia bread. With a bit of show, the ingredients are brought together at the table, for the olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, and freshly cracked pepper, creating a delightful dip for the delicious focaccia bread.

Chef Hughley explained that the tableside presentation of the olive oil mixture adds a level of occasion to the experience and we agree that it certainly does. The meal has only just begun and we are feeling very well taken care of and looked after. It’s a very good start to the meal and foreshadows the excellence that is yet to come and what you and your guests will experience with your wedding at Holiday Inn Eau Claire South.

3 Entrees Tasted

Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse can provide you with plated meals for your event or a buffet line, whichever you prefer. In your tasting, you will try plated versions of the food to help you decide what you’d like served at your event. Chef Hughley provided us with three main entrees to try, each with sides, for us to share.

The three entrees Chef Hughley presented were: Cedar Planked Wild Caught Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter Green Beans and Garlic Cream Cavatappi; Tenderloin Beef Filet Tips with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Mixed Vegetable Medley; and Chicken Prosciutto with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce and Garlic Rosemary Potatoes and Steamed Butter Broccoli.

Each of the entrees with the chosen sides arrived looking very appetizing and visually stunning on the plate.

Thoughts On the Main Entrees

We’re going to tell you right away there are no wrong choices with any of the three entrees we sampled. Honestly, if we could only have one, it would be extremely difficult to pick which one is the most favorite. The salmon was prepared perfectly and arrived at the table on the cedar plank that was used during the cooking process, which brings visual qualities to the dish.

Just thinking about the cream sauce on the juicy chicken prosciutto has our mouths watering now; It was jaw-dropping good. The tenderloin beef tips are almost other-worldly good; the depth of flavor from the wine used to create this dish comes through bite after bite, each time just seeming to give us a small hug and letting us know again and again that we’re in a very special and welcoming space.

The 3 entrees we tried at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. All 3 are tremendous!
The 3 entrees we tried at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. All 3 are tremendous!

OMG Level Desserts !

The main course now over, Chef Hughley still had more surprises for us. Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse has many dessert choices for you for your event. They have a pastry chef on staff and can even make your wedding cake for you here! Along with wedding cake, here are some other choices: 6-layer Limoncello Cake, Turtle Cheesecake, and Roasted Banana Rum Cheesecake.

We’ve had the 6-layer Limoncello Cake before at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse and already know it is outstanding! At this tasting, we tried the Turtle Cheesecake and the Roasted Banana Rum Cheesecake.

Johnnys Turtle Cheesecake 800 x 800 80q 74kb
Turtle Cheesecake at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse.
Johnnys Banana Rum Cheesecake 800 x 800 80q 64kb
Roasted Banana Rum Cheesecake at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse.

We shared each of the cheesecakes. Angie found that the Turtle Cheesecake was her favorite. However, Jeff really took to the Roasted Banana Rum Cheesecake. The rum flavor really plays well here and complements the banana flavor.

We kept feeling like we were being transported back to the Caribbean again and again with each bite. (You may know that we have taken several cruises to the Caribbean Islands and many of the best rums in the world and quite honestly, some of the best bananas too, come from this area.) Whenever food can take you on a journey, like this Roasted Banana Rum Cheesecake did for us, it is a very special thing.

Concluding Thoughts on Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse

Angie and I commented after dessert that we almost wished we weren’t married simply so we could have our wedding catered by Chef Hughley and his team. The food is that good!

Ballroom Spaces

The ballroom at Holiday Inn Eau Claire South can hold 300 guests and can be divided into 4 smaller rooms depending on the needs of your event. The tables are normally set for 8 guests at each table, with white tablecloths and black cloth napkins but Holiday Inn Eau Claire South will work with you if you want to bring different colors to the party.

The chairs can also be covered with white cloth chair covers which gives a very elegant feel to the table setting. The ballroom is painted in earth tone colors which will blend very well with most any color theme you have for your wedding.

Holiday Inn Eau Claire South Ballroom Set for Your Wedding Photo provided by Holiday Inn Eau Claire South 800 x 600 80q 84KB
Holiday Inn Eau Claire South Ballroom set for your wedding. // Photo provided by Holiday Inn Eau Claire South.

There is also accent lighting available in the ballroom which can be set to a variety of different colors so that you can personalize the space to your liking.

There is a hardwood floor throughout the ballroom space so you can utilize a portion of the ballroom as a dance floor for you and your wedding guests to get your groove on. There is also ample space for a DJ or band to set up for music at your event.

If you have videos you’d like to play as part of your event, there are movie screens which drop from the ceiling for this purpose. The movie screens can be retracted when the videos are finished so that the screens are not a distraction from the event.

The staff at Holiday Inn Eau Claire South can also work with you and help you decorate the ballroom as you’d like for your special day. They are very open to hearing your ideas and working with you to make your wedding day the day YOU want it to be.

Ballroom Set for Your Special Event Photo provided by Holiday Inn Eau Claire South 800 x 504 80q 61KB
Ballroom set for your special event. // Photo provided by Holiday Inn Eau Claire South.

Hotel Rooms at Holiday Inn Eau Claire South

Another major perk of having your wedding event at Holiday Inn Eau Claire South is they have the hotel right here on-site! You and your guests will have hotel rooms just a few steps away from your wedding event which will make it very convenient and easy. There is also an opportunity to have a bridal suite included in your block of rooms.

Knowing you and your guests can settle into a comfortable space instantly after your event is a major stress reliever and a very important part of having a great event.

Hotel Room at Holiday Inn Eau Claire South with Sparkling Wine Photo provided by Holiday Inn Eau Claire South 800 x 533 80q 42KB
Hotel room at Holiday Inn Eau Claire South with sparkling wine. // Photo provided by Holiday Inn Eau Claire South.

Overall Concluding Thoughts

Angie and I highly recommend Holiday Inn Eau Claire South as THE venue where you should have your wedding or other special occasion events. We are confident you will be wowed by the venue, the absolutely luscious food that Chef Hughley is preparing, and the comfortable hotel rooms where you can enjoy time before and after your wedding event. Contact Holiday Inn Eau Claire South today!