Forum restaurant was Mark Zurlo's spot to watch the Boston Marathon and where he celebrated crossing the finish line last year after being stopped just blocks away in 2013 when the bombs went off.
"One of the greatest moments of my running career, definitely, was finishing the Marathon down there and then getting to come back here last year," said Zurlo, 28, who on Saturday morning was dressed as Quailman, the superhero alter ego of cartoon character "Doug" who sports a red cape and a belt wrapped around his head. Zurlo was going to brunch after running nearly 20 miles in the Superhero 17 marathon training run with local charity groups.
"There's a lot of sentimental value about it," he said, his cape waving in the cold breeze before he headed into Forum for the last time.
The restaurant, which was heavily damaged in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing but reopened four months later, was set to close its doors for good Saturday night, after its owner said the landlord nearly tripled the rent this year.
The manager at Forum said Saturday that the restaurant was not discussing the situation, in order to keep the day focused on guests who wanted to come for the last hurrah. A statement posted to Forum's Facebook page thanked "each and every one of our patrons, from our regulars to those who came in after the marathon to show their support."
The insurance claim for the bombing damage is still winding its way through bureaucracy, the statement said, and the rent increase made it impossible for Boston Nightlife Ventures, which owns the restaurant, to sustain the business.
"We cried together, we smiled together — none of those times will be forgotten," read the statement.
From the sidewalk outside Forum, superheroes of every stripe — Sonic the Hedgehog, Katniss Everdeen, and Buzz Lightyear, who had 'To Boston, And Beyond' written on her back — could be seen celebrating inside, and patrons coming out said the atmosphere was brighter and busier than it had been recently.
"It was kind of our go-to place on the weekends; we're sad that there are so many people here today on its final day and not every other day," said Brad MacMullin as he walked out of Forum with his wife, Rebecca Palm. "It was actually a little bit hopping in there."
Many people said it was unfortunate the rent edged out a business that became a symbol of hope and resilience after the bombing.
"It's too bad, because I feel like it's got history," said Jeff Klein, who was walking past Forum with his 2-year-old daughter, Jules, perched on his shoulders and his 5-month-old son, Calvin, snuggled inside his jacket.
"Rent is already so high here for these poor restaurants, and there's so many restaurants, and they come and they go because owners keep jacking up rent," said Klein. "It's a shame, because you feel like, there's Newbury Street already. We don't need every street to be Newbury Street in the Back Bay."
Mary N. DiZazzo and her husband, David Trumbull, came from their Beacon Hill home to visit the restaurant one last time. They had been coming since before Forum was Forum, they said, when it was Vox Populi. They were sorry to see it shuttered so soon after the renovations and reopening that followed the Marathon bombing.
"It was almost like a hero when it reopened, nothing was gonna stop us. Boston Strong," said DiZazzo. "We're coming to say goodbye today."