Marathon Deli is one of my favorite restaurants in College Park MD. This tiny family-owned restaurant serves up huge flavors with Greek food and subs.
Last month I went back to Maryland to visit family. I go every July, as a final relax/rewind before the craziness of August and football season hits. Almost every year I’ve been in town for Heather’s birthday, and we have our annual lunch for her birthday at Marathon Deli.
Marathon Deli is in downtown College Park, just a block from the University of Maryland campus. It opened in 1972, and is still a family-owned business. Because it’s a family business, they sometimes close for a couple weeks in the summer for vacation. We tried to go the first week I was home, but it was closed…this time due to construction on the sidewalk right in front of the restaurant. The next week I went to dinner at Ledo’s with my parents on Wednesday, and we drove past Marathon Deli, just to check. No more construction, so I knew we were good to go.
Marathon Deli is in a strip mall, perpendicular to Route 1. So if you don’t know where you are going, it is easy to miss. The space is very small and cozy, with a long open kitchen and order counter on the right, a walkway in the middle, and dining tables at the back. The entire restaurant seats about 20.
Marathon Deli is open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, and closed on Sundays. I love Marathon Deli, but when I lived in Maryland we only visited occasionally, primarily because of the crowds. With such a small dining room, seating is at a premium. And during the lunch rush, the line to order can easily reach outside the front door. Marathon Deli does a brisk carryout business, and we occasionally did that when I worked in the football office.
Restaurants in a college town are never quite as packed in the summer, and Marathon Deli is no different. The tables were full when we arrived, but one opened up just as we placed our order. I appreciate that guests never take a table before ordering. Maybe because so many of the customers are regulars, and they know the deal.
The Marathon Deli menu is surprisingly large for such a small restaurant, featuring subs, vegetarian subs, pizza, sides, special Greek foods, Greek turnovers, and desserts. The subs are hot or cold, and you can choose from a variety of complimentary toppings.
Heather and I are such creatures of habit here, and we always get the same thing. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever tried a gyro. I love gyros in general, but I can’t seem to get away from my regular Marathon Deli sub.
Heather gets the cold cut & cheese, hot
I’ve never tried it, but she gets it every single time so it has to be good.
I go with the turkey breast & cheese with lettuce, tomatoes, onion and provolone, and add both hot and sweet peppers
I absolutely love this sub. The bread gets that nice, beautiful crusty toast from the oven, and they are generous with the turkey and the toppings. I’m a huge french fry snob, and the fries at Marathon Deli are some of my favorite. They are always hot, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They are generous with the seasoning, and it adds a wonderful punch of flavor to the fries.
I don’t have a whole lot of must-dos when I visit Maryland, but Marathon Deli will always be one of them. Not only for the delicious food, but also to catch up with Heather at one of our favorite restaurants.
For reviews of more restaurants in College Park, click on the photos below!