The Halfway Café is home to the “7 for $7 specials,” Thursday night's live acoustic music ,and the weekly Chicken Shoot. (Don’t worry, no chickens are actually shot … it’s bingo boasting prizes of free food from the restaurant and other goodies).
The café first opened its doors in 1999 to the residents of Marlborough. “We serve over 10,000 meals a week,” owner John Grasso said. “I love the people element of the business. And having a connection to your employees is very important.”
After sliding across the bright green cushions into one of the booths, take a gander at the place-mats. This is no ordinary place-mat. Baby and toddler photos of the Halfway Café employees adorn the sheet of paper. Hint: Pass the time waiting on food by trying to match the servers to their baby photos while munching on the complimentary baskets of popcorn.
Only two words are needed to describe Halfway’s hand-cut sweet potato fries: Get them! And the juicy turkey burger crowned with caramelized onions and melted cheddar cheese? It beats many competing beef burgers.
According to Grasso, the most popular items on Halfway Café’s menu are the steak tips, turkey tips, signature steamers, wings, and hand-cut fries. But of course so much more is available to guests – everything from pizza and baked scallops, to vegetable ravioli.
The Halfway Café of Marlborough is just one of six café locations. Grasso, along with longtime friend David Steen, purchased the Halfway Café in Dedham in 1990. After much success at that location, the partners opened up another restaurant in Watertown. Along with those locations and Marlborough, there are Halfway Cafes in Canton, Holbrook and Maynard.
Steen passed away in 2006, but Grasso keeps his memory and spirit alive in the everyday life of the restaurants.
How has he kept not one but six restaurants running successfully throughout the roller-coaster economy of the last few years? Grasso offers this advice from his 30 years in the restaurant industry for business owners wishing to expand. “Stay true to your core values, but at the same time you have to learn to continuously evolve," he said.
Stop on by Marlborough’s Halfway Café, located at 820 Boston Post Road, for some chicken shootin’ and a delectable relaxing good time – the perfect spot to unwind with friends or family after a long day at work.