Whether you’re running in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this weekend or cheering from the sidelines as a spectator, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Luckily for us, Chicago restaurants across the city are offering up a variety of marathon menu specials that will make it easy for runners (okay…and non-runners) to stock up on those carbohydrates and refuel with protein-packed meals.
While I’m not a long-distance runner, some of the marathon specials out there this week are good enough to make me seriously consider adapting a training program to burn off all of those carbo-loading calories. Whether you’re doing the full 26.2 this year or simply planning to squeeze in an extra treadmill workout, here are ten restaurants offering marathon dining specials this week.
Filini: In an effort to help you eat a little healthier as you prepare for the big race (whether you’re running it or not) the downtown Italian bar and restaurant has added high-protein pancakes to the breakfast menu for teh entire week. Order your wholegrain pancakes topped with fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt, blueberries, crushed almonds and hazelnuts for only $9 (221 North Columbus Drive, 312-477-0234).
Bar Umbriago: If just thinking about running a marathon causes you to work up an appetite, Bar Umbriago, a relative newcomer to River North has a $15 Bottomless Mimosa and $6 Bloody Mary Bar to celebrate the big race. The menu includes hearty, stick-to-your-ribs items like classic steak and eggs, omelets, waffles, French toast, pancakes and more, ranging in cost from $6.50 – $16. It’s OK….you earned those calories (6 West Hubbard Street, 312-494-1200).
Mercat a la Planxa: You’ve heard of the nefarious term, but this weekend, ”Dine and Dash” will take on a whole new meaning. Mercata la Planxa in the Blackstone Hotel, will feature a “Dine and Dash” menu for $35, with four courses of protein-packed indulgences. Runners who come in Sunday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. are welcome to a three-course brunch with endless trips to the dessert and charcuterie stations for $25 per person (638 South Michigan Avenue, 312-765-0524).
Trump International Hotel & Tower: Even The Donald is getting into the Chicago Marathon spirit. From Saturday, October 6th through Sunday October 7th, Sixteen and In-Room Dining will be featuring a variety of items packed with protein and carbohydrates to promote optimal energy and strength. Think steel cut oatmeal, egg white omelet with a choice of vegetables and fresh fruit juices, all ideal choices for health-conscious athletes (401 North Wabash Avenue, 312-588-8000).
Carmine’s: If you’re running on Sunday, you might want to rehydrate before heading to Carmine’s bottomless mimosa brunch so that you can kick back with a cocktail or two to celebrate your big finish. Marathon runners are invited to enjoy brunch and a $15 bottomless mimosa special from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The menu includes items like peppercorn smoked salmon, omelets, eggs benedict, French toast and more, ranging in cost from $5 – $14. The full menu is available upon request (1043 N. Rush Street,312-988-7676).
Lockwood Restaurant: Saturday, October 6, the farm-to-table restaurant in the Parker House Hilton will serve a “marathon menu” of unlimited pasta for just $18. Runners and non-runners can enjoy a choice of strozzapretti, linguini or pappardelle pasta with a choice of marinara, alfredo or pesto sauce. All pastas are finished with fresh basil from the rooftop garden (17 East Monroe Street, 312-917-3404).
Mercadito: Sprint over to the swanky River North taco spot after you cross the finish line. Guests who show their BIB number on Sunday will receive a free order of Mercadito’s tacos de huevos a la Mexicana (egg tacos), to reload on protein after the race. Normally $12.50, guests can enjoy the scrambled egg tacos with fresh pico de gallo, queso fresco, black bean hash, chile de árbol salsa and avocado. An additional menu or drink item must be purchased to redeem the free tacos, which are limited to one order per guest. Post race margarita? Twist our arms (108 West Kinzie Street, 312-329-9555).
The Pony: If you worked up a sweat running 26.2 miles, you might find yourself a little thirsty at the end. Once you’ve downed your sports drinks and H2O, celebrate post run with The Pony by presenting their Runner ID number for a complimentary PowerAde Pony Punch with the purchase of any food item. Other specials include $5 24 ounce Pony Punch Cocktails, $4 16 ounce Miller Lite bottles, and a $5 Burger with hand cut fries (1638 West Belmont, 773-828-5055).
Gioco: Carboloading isn’ just for runners…is it? On Friday October 5 and Saturday October 6, guests can power up with pasta and pizza at Gioco. Diners can select from a variety of classic, comfort Italian dishes including prosciutto pizza with San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, orecchette with Italian sausage, rapini and sun-dried tomatoes or a bowl of spicy, savory penne Arrabiata (1312 S Wabash Avenue, 312-939-3870).
Quay Restaurant & Bar: If you can’t decide whether you want to celebrate marathon weekend before or after the actual event takes place, why not do both? Quay invites guests to enjoy a pre- or post- marathon brunch on Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The brunch menu includes house smoked salmon benedict, bananas foster French toast, chicken hash and more, ranging in cost from $7 and up. Marathon drink specials include $5 Stella Drafts, $6 Bloody Marys, and $6 Absolut Screwdrivers. Full menus are available upon request (465 E. Illinois Street, 312-981-8400).