CHICAGO (WLS) -- Bring on the pasta! Thousands of runners will participate in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and restaurants across the city and in Little Italy are dishing out the carbs.
Carbohydrate-loading is a strategy endurance athletes use to increase the amount of fuel stored in muscles, according to the Mayo Clinic. Typically, carb-loading starts in the days leading up to the event, like a marathon.
Runners come from all 50 states and more than 100 counties to race through the city's streets. All that running builds up an appetite, and some of Chicago's restaurants are hoping to cash in on that with special menus on Saturday, the day before.
Build-your-own pasta is on the menu, ranging between $15 and $22, at Current, 644 North Lake Shore Drive, and $35 (with drink, dessert, and salad) at Park Grill, 11 N. Michigan Avenue, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon featured restaurant. It's all-you-can-eat pasta for $10 at Plymouth Restaurant, 327 S. Plymouth Court, and a special, 26-layer lasagna for $18 at Ceres' Table, 3124 N. Broadway.
"It's a generous portion," Ceres' Table Chef Giuseppe Scurato said, topped off with black truffle shavings.
At Osteria Via Stato, 620 N. State Street, marathon specials include four pastas- whole wheat, orecchiete with tomatoes and garlic; spaghetti & meatballs and rigatoni with meat ragu - for $11.95 to $15.95. Pastas are also available to go at the Embassy Suites lobby carryout station.
Of course, there are great Italian restaurants across the city. But, as the name suggests, Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood is one of the city's premier pasta - and carb- destinations. On Taylor Street, tables book early for marathon weekend.
"All Italian restaurants are pretty much carbo-loading," Louis Folinazzo, The Rosebud, 15000 West Taylor Street, said. "We're completely booked for [Saturday]."
Another marathon tradition for many runners and spectators is brunch after the run. Because of the out-of-town crowd, Chicago's hotels and restaurants are busy Sunday afternoon.
And for those who want a sweet, bring that shiny, new medal into Mon Ami Gabi for a free dessert (good until 10/16).
Other Taylor Street restaurants:
RoSal's, 1154 West Taylor Street
The Rosebud, 1500 West Taylor Street
Francescas on Taylor, 1400 West Taylor Street
Pompeii, 1531 W. Taylor Street
Tuscany, 1014 W. Taylor Street