8 Spots to Fuel Up and Carbo Load for the Chicago Marathon

Whether you're racing in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9 or not, the occasion is a great excuse to carb out on pasta. In honor of the race, here are some of the best restaurant’s in Chicago to carbo-load on pasta, pizza, and more: 


Ravioli at Bistronomic

Dolce Italian: pre-game for the actual Marathon with a "Carb Marathon" at Dolce Italian. The restaurant features numerous wonderful pastas, like spaghetti alla pomodoro, ricotta cappelletti, lobster mezzalune, and squid ink taglioni. Then there’s the incredible pizzas, especially the Sunday Gravy with meatballs, spicy salami, and jalapeño, or the Primo Amore with Burrata, arugula, grape tomatoes and Parmigiano. Be sure and order one of your pizzas as the Dolce Stella, which folds some of the exterior crust into a pillowy star-shaped dough. 

Club Lucky: Bucktown's venerable Club Lucky is known for its pasta in copious and comforting portions, which of course makes it a prime destination for pre-Marathon feasting. On Marathon Eve, head to the neighborhood gem to fuel up on fried calamari, sausage & peppers, stuffed artichokes and pasta e fagioli (only available Fridays and Saturdays). The rest of the pastas are homey and comforting, like something out of a classic red sauce Italian movie. Think linguine with fresh clams, ferrucine alfredo, and homemade lasagna. 

Pleasant House Pub: not all carbo-loading is about pasta. Don’t forget the savory meat pies! Considering Pleasant House Pub is right on the route in Pilsen, this makes for an apt spot to settle down, eat a little and watch the race on October 9, or of course dine the night before. The restaurant is hosting a special marathon party during the race, featuring special drinks, music, and breakfast specials. 

Tavern on Rush: brick-oven pizza and pasta are two of the most famous features of Tavern on Rush, which makes this Gold Coast fixture a prime spot to dine all weekend long. For thin-crust pizza, expect flavors like pepperoni, margherita, sausage, and more offbeat originals like “Matt’s Bacon Giardiniera.” For pastas, available in half or full portion, there’s pappardella alla bolognese, rigatoni with spicy Italian sausage, seafood linguini, and cavatappi corkscrew pasta. 

Bistronomic: all weekend long, Bistronomic has a handful of a la carte specials on deck for both pre- and post-Marathon chowing. These include handmade ravioli with Nichols Farm kohlrabi, mushrooms, and Parmesan shavings; hand-cut Yukon Gold gnocchi with confit of red and yellow peppers, goat cheese, and basil pistou; handmade fettuccine with Amish chicken breast, Nichols Farm celery root, watermelon radish and Gruyere; and homemade squid ink linguine with Gulf shrimp, broccoli, cauliflower, fine herbes, and saffron sauce. Pastas are available in both full and half portions. 

Park Grill: situated right on Michigan Avenue in Millennium Park, Park Grill is your prime destination for marathon dining. The restaurant is poised to host its fourth annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon pre-race dinner on Oct. 8. Situated under a tent at The Plaza at Millennium Park, the event features a glorious pasta buffet, a build-your-own pasta station, salads, desserts and beer and wine, all for $40 per person. The main seating for the event is at 6:00 p.m.

A10: it’s quality over quantity at A10, where the concise list of handmade pastas are some of the best in town. Try the bucatini carbonara, which skews classic, or get a little wilder with the spaghetti in beef heart bolognese. There’s also campanelle with lump crab, lemon beurre fondue, salmon roe, and pink peppercorn; and rotolo with stinging nettle ricotta, spring onion pesto, mushroom chips, and pea shoots. 

Erie Cafe: at this iconic River North mainstay, indulgent pastas are just as prominent and renowned as the steaks. Classics are the order of the day here, from homemade cheese ravioli and spaghetti with meat sauce to linguini frutti di mare. 

- Matt Kirouac