HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >


in town for the marathon Oct 11-14, where to carb load with pasta? and other recommendations

  • b

Hi all,

Coming in for the marathon Fri Oct 11 - Mon 14.

On the Friday night, I will be dining alone. Would love to try Girl and the Goat, goosefoot, or Grace, but all are full on OpenTable (or don't have solo diner resos) From the options that I can find available, I'm deciding between Blackbird and Acadia... Thoughts? How are these for solo diners? I'm up for other suggestions. I will probably make a reservation at one and try for an early walk-in at GatG.

On the Saturday, I plan to carb load! Where is good for pasta? I'm staying at Hotel Burnham, if that makes a difference.

After running 26 miles, on Sunday I'm planning to eat a lot at either The Publican or Frontera Grill (or both) with a few friends. Recommendations for after-dinner drinks near each would be helpful too.

Will be heading back to Toronto on the Monday but am looking for a good breakfast/brunch spot that is serving on Mondays.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Grace does not generally put weekend reservations on Open Table; try calling them and they may very well be able to accommodate you; they are fantastic and it is well worth the phone call to see if they have space. Girl & the Goat has a first come/first served bar seating area where you can order off the full menu; if you arrive early you should be able to be seated without too much trouble even without a reservation. Goosefoot is amazing but is currently the most difficult reservation in town (and no bar seating area, so walk ups are not accommodated). Blackbird and Acadia have their fans, but they are not my favorites.

    Popular Italian venues in the downtown area would be Piccolo Sogno/Piccolo Due, Quartinos, Cafe Spiaggia and newcomer Tre Soldi. If you want to head out to a neighborhood outside of downtown I enjoy Balena in Lincoln Park.

    For after dinner drinks I really enjoy The Berkshire Room. A new venue called Three Dots and a Dash is popular (have not made it yet myself). Aviary is a really cool cocktail lounge (owned by Grant Achatz) but it is closed Sundays.

    Good luck with the marathon and enjoy your meals!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gonzo70

      Aviary just announced they will now be open on Sundays.

    2. Fellow marathoner here! Gonzo's recs are good for normal Italian but portions won't be that large for a good carbo load.. And I know you'll probably want to eat a lot by 7PM at the latest. You mention friends for celebrating. If they live in the city, I would check out their neighborhood Italian places. You'll get the big plate of pasta you need, If downtown - and I hate to foodie mention this - but check out Maggiano's.. The day before the marathon we can cast across snobbery for a big bowl of low cost carbs.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lbs

        Don't go to Maggiano's, I bet there's one near you in the "B" level mall.

        For great old-school italian I would go to my neighborhood fave, La Scarola. Call ahead an hour and you'll get a "reservation" or your name on the list. It's really good. Five to ten minute cab ride from any River North / Mag Mile hotel.

        Another choice would be to venture over to Little Italy and pick one. I like it over there, about 15 mins cab ride from Mag Mile. Rosebud, Francesca, and Davanti Enoteca are my favorites.

      2. FYI Frontera Grill is closed Sundays and Mondays (as are Topolobampo & Xoco).

        1. I would check out La Scarola for Italian before the race. Great atmosphere and pasta.

          1. Another Italian restaurant with good pasta and within 2 blocks of the Burnham is Trattoria No. 10, at 10 N. Dearborn St.

            1. Thanks all for the recommendations! I ended up getting a reso at Grace when I called, so very much looking forward to that. All the Italian places look quite good, so have much to choose from.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bapto

                Of the places mentioned above in Little Italy, Rosebud (Rosebud on Rush, Carmine's, Rosebud Prime, and Rosebud Theater District) and Davanti Enoteca have locations closer to your hotel. Although I love Davanti Enoteca, and as a dining experience prefer the Little Italy location, for biological eating and large portions, I think some of the other options might be preferred.


                Wherever you choose for your carbo-loading, be sure to reserve as far in advance as possible; Italian restaurants in particular are jam-packed on marathon Saturday. Asian restaurants for rice and noodles are also a good and less-crowded option for pre-race dining (I say this as someone who loves food, and whose husband ran Chicago many times, not as someone who is too involved in nutrition or exercise).

                Have fun and good luck!

              2. I suggest La Scarola for a major carb load. Great menu and large portions. Picolo Sogno is great, however you will probably want a larger portion than they serve.