Oct 4, 2023 - Food and Drink

Best places to eat before the Chicago Marathon

Sandwich with meat, lettuce and tomato inside slices of plaintain.

Jibarito from from Jibaritos Y Mas. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

More than 45,000 runners are scheduled to run in Sunday's Chicago Marathon, and many will need to carb-load the day before the big race.

What's happening: We sought out recommendations from marathoners for energy-fueling (and yummy) eats that go beyond heaping plates of pasta.

What they're saying: This is Alexandra Caron's second marathon, and she shared ideas that span Chicago's culinary map.

  • Jibaritos Y Mas South Side is a great stop for anyone flying into Midway for the race who wants to try the Puerto Rican sandwich of meat smashed between fried plantains, drizzled with garlic.
  • Out-of-towners can also take in Little Italy with a visit to Conte Di Savoia for what Caron calls "the best Italian subs."
  • Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen has your baby back ribs, smoked meats, mac 'n' cheese, but also some options for vegetarians like a portabella sandwich, fried green tomatoes and salads.

Yes, but: Of course, some will still want pasta. For some of the best Italian food outside Italy, runner Giuliana Gonzalez says to hit Orso's in Old Town.

Shula's Steak House has pasta specials beginning on Friday, including gluten-free spaghetti and meatballs and vegan fettuccine alfredo.

  • And, of course, breadsticks.

Chicago Firehouse in South Loop is one of the spots offering marathon menus. This one includes deviled eggs, a mixed grill with lots of meat and a Chicago classic — caramel and cheese popcorn.

Thought bubble: I've run three half-marathons, and it was always the meal after the race that was extra special. I once ate an entire pizza from Piece. Good luck, runners! What a feat.

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