It’s been 122 years since the first Boston Marathon was run in Boston. And it’s been five years since the Boston Marathon bombings. This year’s marathon takes places on Apr. 16 (Patriot’s Day), and Boston Strong will be more united than ever with a trending #togetherforward theme—expect 30,000 official participants, including more than 7,100 runners representing 96 foreign countries. And, of course, expect lots of pasta.
Many of Boston’s restaurants were affected the day of the bombings and in the weeks and months following. Some establishments didn’t make it, like Forum on Boylston Street. The restaurant was badly damaged and shuttered for four months. Forum went the extra mile and reopened to much love and fanfare, but ultimately had to drop out of the Boston restaurant scene.
Fortunately, other restaurants that were at or near the finish line when the bombs went off were able to persevere and will mark the fifth anniversary this year. And, the tight-knit restaurant community has also pulled together to host many fundraisers to benefit marathon affiliated organizations.
Here’s a glimpse into how some of these restaurants have managed to keep running—and, also how diners can show their support and help some of these restaurants in their community fundraising efforts on Marathon Monday.
Baseball-themed McGreevy’s restaurant and bar will recognize those who have helped these last five years. Located just .2 miles from the finish line, McGreevy’s was closed for a week following the bombings, and has since then held many charity events surrounding the Marathon, including a popular charity bartending initiative. This year, to pay tribute to the anniversary, McGreevy’s will hang a giant banner with names of all of those who hosted a charity bartending night at the restaurant. A special sip will also be served—The Point 2 Blue cocktail, a house-made vodka-based sip that glows with the hues of Boston Marathon blue (doors open early at 8am).
The Beehive, a funky underground bohemian bistro, is located just a couple of blocks from the finish line. When the bombs went off, the restaurant quickly became a haven for those who were forced to flee the scene. The Beehive is hosting a fifth annual fundraising event to benefit the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation. 100 percent of proceeds from 3 p.m. to midnight on Marathon Monday will be donated to the cause—to fuel cutting-edge research and clinical programs in trauma healing and emergency preparedness. The charity was established by Audrey Epstein Reny and Steven Reny, to express gratitude to the doctors at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) who saved their 18-year-old daughter’s life and limbs following the explosions at the finish line in 2013. Executive Chef James Lyons will serve signature specials like Crispy Duck Tacos, Short Rib Beignets, Spring Vegetable Curry, and Grilled Rib Eye Steak. And Jack’s Abbey will pour small batch, limited-edition beer released just for the event and to commemorate the marathon bombing’s 5th anniversary.
OAK Long Bar + Kitchen in the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel was a godsend for displaced locals and visitors. “Immediately after the bombs went off a swarm of people rushed into OAK Long Bar + Kitchen to get off the street and away from more potential danger and were held inside for a long time because no one was allowed to leave due to safety concerns,” says Ellen Ryan, regional director of sales and marketing. “Staff genuinely tried as much as they could to run the restaurant ‘business as usual’ that day and the days following, with a special effort by everyone to provide great service to keep everyone’s spirits up during a very scary (and tiring) time for customers.” The Friday following the marathon there was a lockdown in many neighborhoods and some employees were not able to travel on the T to get to work, explains Ryan, so the staff that was able to get to work pinch hit for other employees. “For example, the hotel’s Assistant Director of Catering at the time had bartending experience so she gladly jumped behind OAK’s bar to serve that day when a few bartenders could not leave their houses.”
On Marathon Monday, diners can dig into a Finish Line Burger (Wagyu brisket and bacon) and throw back a Samuel Adams 26.2 Brew and Single Cut Beer Miles Marathon Session IPA on draft.
Other cities are also showing some love for Boston’s #togetherforward movement. The Parish Café, located just three blocks from the finish line, took a hit on the day of the marathon and days following. When the restaurant learned that Chef George Mendes, chef/owner of Aldea in New York, is running this year’s marathon on behalf of Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a Boston-based non-profit food rescue organization that distributes healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded, to help feed the hungry, the restaurant asked George if they could make a limited-time-only sandwich inspired by him and all proceeds will go to the charity. The pork belly sandwich is a take on the classic Portuguese recipe for carne de porco à alentejana—pork belly that’s been cooked for 12 hours, clams, cucumbers, pickled carrots, fresh cilantro, and sweet smoked paprika mayo.
Explore More of Boston
Header image courtesy of Pixabay.