One bonus to putting yourself through a grueling 26.2 mile ordeal is the fact that you get to pig out the night before -- and justify partying like a rock star afterward. Whether you're actually running in the Chicago Marathon or not, there's plenty of places to help get you into the spirit.
Carb Loading the Italian Way
Everything comes full circle, so it only make sense that one of the final stretches of the Marathon runs along Michigan Avenue in the South Loop, a block away from Gioco. The Italian restaurant is featuring a special Marathon Risotto, created especially for the occasion, along with the regular menu of pizzas and pasta, making it the perfect place to fill up on carbohydrates the night before.
Gioco, 1312 S. Wabash, 312.939.3870
Here's the Party
The James Hotel is a good place to be before and after the race. On Thursday, The James begins hosting the Marathon Weekend Lobby Bar Party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Several drink specials will be offered including a few made with Vitamin Water and beer for the carbs. Look for complimentary appetizers from David Burke's Primehouse. Primehouse also has a special menu with carb-specific entrees like Rock Shrimp Raviolis with peas and desserts such as a Banana Protein Smoothie. The James Hotel, 55 East Ontario, (312) 337.1000
Head to Old Town for carbo-boosting with a Spanish flair. Eivissa is offering a Chicken, Vegetarian or Ham & Manchego Cheese Fideua dishes (Spanish noodles) for $10.95. If you prefer to watch the runners go by, the restaurant is providing complimentary coffee and torrijas tastings (brioche soaked in honey-vanilla olo roso egg batter) starting at 8 a.m. Sunday.
Eivissa, 1531 N. Wells, (312) 654.9500
Cure What Ales You
Division Ale House is getting into the marathon spirit with some themed menu items on Saturday, including the Evans Linguini Pasta Primavera (named after Evans Cheruiyot, last year's men's champion) and Lidiya's Rice (named after Lidiya Grigoryeva, last year's female champion). Runners take note -- a marathon medal nets you get a complimentary draft beer.
Division Ale House, 1942 W Division St, (773) 384-6886
Post-Race Mexican Meal
Angels & Mariachis is offering a number of food and drink specials Saturday and Sunday, but runners might want to consider this Wicker Park restaurant for their post-race celebration. Show them your medal and get 25 percent off your bill on Sunday. You've suffered long enough during training, so we suggest the $20 bottomless mimosas with an entree purchase.
Angels & Mariachis, 1721 W. Division, (773) 227-7772