Patriot’s Day, or Marathon Monday as most people call it, is easily one of the most energized days in greater Boston. The air is buzzing with the excitement of more than 30,000 runners hungry to reach the finish line in Copley Square. But they’re not the only ones who will be hungry along the way. Spectators need fuel too! Whether you’re following your favorite runner friend along the course or choosing a spot to cheer for the day, keep this list handy and you’ll be prepared wherever hunger strikes.
MILE 10: START IN THE SUBURBS
Hopkinton will be mayhem on Monday, so if you plan on following the progress of your favorite runner along the course, consider starting your day in Natick where the runners will hit the 10-mile mark and the field will spread out a little bit.
Natick, MA - Casey’s Diner
For a treat even more historic than the marathon itself, check out Casey’s Diner. This is the 120th running of the Boston Marathon and the Casey family has been serving their classic burgers and dogs for even longer. But for the first time this year you can get breakfast there too.
The Good Morning Burger ($5.50) topped with bacon, egg and cheese on an English muffin or bagel, is the perfect way to sample one of Casey’s classics for breakfast, and Pat’s French Toast (pictured below, $4.50) made with 3 hearty slices of potato bread is sure to fill you up for a morning of cheering on the runners.
Just one block off the course, this petite cash-only diner has a walk-up window for to-go orders, but if you can wrangle a stool at the counter inside, be sure to check out the photo of Pat’s great grandfather with “the original food truck” – a horse-drawn wagon circa 1890. Pat Casey, the fourth generation Casey to run the diner, is gearing up for his 32nd consecutive Marathon Monday behind the counter, and this year he just might break his grandfather’s 1986 record of 1400 hot dogs served in about three and a half hours.
Casey’s Diner – 36 South Ave., Natick, 508-655-3761, caseysdiner.com
Natick, MA - Bakery on the Common
If you’re looking for some baked goods to start your day, or a box of treats for the road, stop into Bakery on the Common. Just steps from the race course, this is also a great spot to sit and have breakfast before you claim your spectating spot out on Central Street, or take a break for lunch. But I strongly recommend you stock up on cupcakes, cannoli, and their special marathon-themed runner cookies before you continue on down the course.
Bakery on the Common - 9 South Main St., Natick, 508-655-9992, bakeryonthecommon.com
MILE 13.1: THE HALFWAY POINT
If you need to recover from an experience at the Wellesley Scream Tunnel, or just have time to kill in the middle of the day and want to treat yourself to a gourmet lunch along the route, consider stopping in Wellesley or Newton.
Wellesley, MA and Newton, MA - The Local
The Local has locations in both towns. In Wellesley, it's right on the marathon route, so try to grab a table early. If you need a break from the chaos before getting back to cheering, try their Newton location, which is less than a mile off the course. The Warm Potato Chips with French onion dip ($5) and The Local Burger ($13) will give you plenty to chew on while you wait for the runners to head east.
The Local Wellesley - 11 Forest St., Wellesley, 781-694-1210 / 1391 Washington St., West Newton, 617-340-2160, liveeatlocal.com
MILE 22: THE HOME STRETCH
After your suburban adventure (or instead of it) make your way to the south side of Beacon Street, where runners are powering through their last 4.2 miles. The celebratory feeling along this stretch of the course is intense, with jam-packed sidewalks stretching from Cleveland Circle to Coolidge Corner.
Brookline, MA - Washington Square Tavern
Smack in the middle of the action is the veritable street party in Washington Square, led by the special grill set-up outside the Washington Square Tavern. The smell of grilling sausages fills the air across the entire square, with burgers, dogs, and sausages ($4 to $7) continuously served up from 11am to 4:30pm. Inside the restaurant, the bar is open and the beer is flowing. They also have special race-day bloody Mary and mimosa bars starting at 11 o’clock.
The restaurant kitchen is closed during the day, but returns with a limited menu in the evening, and the Tavern also happens to be one of the best post-marathon places to celebrate. Owner, Gerry Finnegan, says that this is the best time of the year in Boston, and encourages people to "be nice to the police officers. There’s a lot of them working that day and they’re under a lot of stress."
Washington Square Tavern - Washington St., Brookline, 617-232-8989, washingtonsquaretavern.com
Brookline, MA - Emack & Bolio’s
If you’ve had your fill of burgers and beer, and you’re looking for something sweet, head up the hill to Emack & Bolio’s for a scoop of their Beantown Buzz ice cream, since buzzing is exactly what Beantown will be doing on Marathon Monday.
Emack & Bolio’s - 1663 Beacon St, Brookline, 617-731-6256, emackandbolios.com
*A note about Beacon St. and the T: Pedestrian crossings will be available at the intersections of Beacon Street and Tappan Street (near Washington Square) and Beacon Street and Webster Street (near Coolidge Corner). The stops at Kent Street and St. Mary's Street will be closed from approximately 10am to 6pm, and the Copley Station will be closed all day.
MILE 26.2: THE BIG FINISH
After you’ve had your fill in Washington Square, make your way down to Back Bay to cheer your runner toward the finish line, then take them out to celebrate their accomplishment and replenish all those burned calories.
Boston, MA - Parish Café
This will undoubtedly be a very popular place on Marathon Monday given its location just past Copley Square. But if you can get in, their beer selection and sandwiches are well worth it! And nothing tastes better than cold beer and a giant sandwich after a long run, or a long day watching runners. For those who want to get a little further away from the crowds, they have a second location on Mass Ave. in the South End.
Go for the Big Cheese ($12.95), created by Parish owner Peter Culpo himself, loaded with Fontina cheese, applewood smoked bacon and sliced tomato on grilled French Pullman bread, with a side of classic Cape Cod potato chips. And to really treat yourself, get the crispy, salty Bowl-O-Rings ($10.25) to share (maybe).
Parish Café – 361 Boylston St., Boston, 617-247-4777 / 493 Massachusetts Ave, 617-391-0501, parishcafe.com
Boston, MA - Giacomo’s South End
If beer isn’t your thing, but pasta is, head over to Giacomo’s on Columbus Ave. This South End outpost of the famous North End restaurant is just as authentic, but a lot closer to the finish line. Their butternut squash ravioli with diced asparagus, prosciutto, and mascarpone cream ($16) is heaven on a plate, and their House Seafood Specialties ($15 to $20) pack all the protein and carbs a racer could possibly want, doused in your choice of sauce. Unlike the North End, this location does take reservations, but just like its sister location it is also cash only.
Giacomo's - 431 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-536-5723, giacomosblog-boston.blogspot.com
From a diner tradition older than the marathon itself, to post-race beers in Copley Square, follow this path for Marathon Monday dining adventures: