Eater Chicago intern Katie Johnson contributed this article.
Osteria via Stato [Photo: Planet 99]
Ready. Steady. Carb out! With only a few more days left until the Chicago Marathon, athletes will be scouring the city for the best places to fuel up on starches for race day. Stand-out pasta dishes and Italian restaurants are a-plenty in the city, but here are some of Eater's suggestions of the best bets for eats full of the complex carbohydrates that will keep you energized for every bit of the 26.2 miles. Some of them are even friendly on your wallet, thanks to race weekend specials at participating businesses, while others take spectators into consideration. See, there's a spring in your step already.
1) Orso's Restaurant
Where: 1401 N. Wells
What: Head out the night before the race (Oct 8) for a $25 family style meal at Orso's.
Call: (312) 787-6604
2) Viand Bar and Kitchen
Where: 155 E. Ontario (at Michigan Avenue)
What: The day before race-day, Viand will offer a special three-course menu (starting at 5 p.m.) for $25 per person. The Streeterville restaurant menu will include pennette pasta with a red pepper cream sauce and a flourless chocolate cake for your sweet tooth.
Call: (312) 255-8505
3) Cafe Spiaggia
Where: 980 N. Michigan, Second Floor
What: Show your race registration forms at Cafe Spiaggia (Oct. 4 to 8) and receive a complimentary order of housemade gelato with the purchase of any entree. Post race week (Oct 9 to 16), receive a celebratory, and well deserved, glass of wine with the purchase of an entree when you show your race bib or medal.
Call: (312) 280-2750
Where: 800 S. Michigan Ave
What: Indulge the night before the race at this South Loop spot for dinner specials including vegetable lasagna, lobster carbonara, shrip scampi and spaghetti and meatballs. Specials served starting at 5 p.m.
Call: (312) 957-0000
5) Palomar Chicago
Where: 505 N. State
What: Will you wake up on race day and be jonesin' for a caffeine fix? Hotel Palomar has you covered. Offering a complimentary coffee and tea bar for marathon participants, and their supporters, the Palomar will also set up a special race day breakfast bar.
Call: (312) 755-9703
6) Benchmark and Sidebar
Where: 1510 N. Wells; and 221 N. LaSalle
What: Opening at 8 a.m., race spectators and supporters can join the Nike watch party at either location. Advance tickets are available for $20 a pop and includes four drinks (domestics, mimosas and bloodys) along with a breakfast or lunch sandwich at either eatery. T-shirts and giveaways are included.
Call: (312) 649-9640; (312) 739-3900
7) Osteria Via Stato
Where: 620 N. State
What: Chef David DiGregorio has a deal, or maybe even two, for you. Osteria Via Stato will offer an energy packed farro salad for $6.95 and mezzi rigatoni (with crushed tomatoes and garlic) for $11.95.
Call: (312) 642-8450
8) Sweetwater Tavern and Grille
Where: 225 N. Michigan
What: Sweetwater will feature two filling past dishes in honor of the big race. Grilled chicken alfredo (fettuccini noodles in a garlic cream sauce) and baked goat cheese rigatoni (with housemade marinara and sauteed vegetables) will be offered for $12.99 all weekend.
Call: (312) 698-7111
9) Eleven City Diner
Where: 1112 S. Wabash
What: This South Loop diner will feature four special marathon themed dishes for race day weekend including mish mosh pasta (whole wheat pasta with your choice of marinara or pesto and chicken or sausage), fish fuel (grilled tilapia with citrus salsa and tabbouleh), the wall buster (paella with grilled chicken) and the 26th mile (granola and yogurt with your choice of berries or bananas with toast or a bagel).
Call: (312) 321-1112
10) Cucina Paradiso
Where: 814 North Boulevard, Oak Park, Ill.
What: If you find the city crowds too overwhelming, this suburban option will offer two specials for marathon weekend. The rigatoni spinaci (fresh spinach, peas and sun-dried tomatoes in marinara over rigatoni and topped with romano and fresh mozzarella cheeses) and the pappardelle (with sauteed green beans, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, candied walnuts, fresh oregano and mozzarella) will both be available for $15 a plate.
Call: (708) 848-3434
11) The Southern Mac & Cheese Store
Where: 60 E. Lake St.
What: Do you ever imagine yourself running after the Southern's mac and cheese truck, following its next location because you can't get enough of that cheesy goodness? Save your energy for the race. The new brick and mortar spot in the loop, is ready for you, serving up all your favorite flavors along with salads, sandwiches and beverages.
Call: (312) 262-7622
12) Three Aces
Where: 1321 W. Taylor St.
What: Beer is a carb, right? With the race route winding down Taylor Street in the heart of Little Italy, Three Aces will open early to offer a special race day breakfast menu with prime viewing real estate on its patio, not to mention the perfect spot to do some pre-or post-race celebrating.
Call: (312) 243-1577
Where: SmallBar Fullerton at 1415 W. Fullerton; and SmallBar Division at 2049 W. Division
What: Opening at 10 a.m. on race day, both SmallBar locations will offer marathoners a free brunch entree. (Sorry, beverages not included.) Don't delay, a deal this good just won't last; the offer expires at 6 p.m. on Sunday (October 9).
Call: (773) 525-2727
Where: 18 E. Bellevue
What: After 26.2 miles, you'll be in need of some celebrating. A post-marathon feast will be served the Monday after race-day at this Gold Coast haunt. Their "marathon brunch" will feature housemade pecan sticky buns ($4) and a house-cured gravlax benedict ($10.50).
Call: (312) 642-3400
15) Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream
Where: 1405 N. Wells St.
What: After running a marathon, no one's going to stop you from indulging your sweet tooth. Score a 12-ounce coffee for only a buck, and housemade Belgian waffles for $3.50, to name just a few of the race day deals at this Old Town sweet spot.
Call: (312) 654-1962