Pasta Party! 10 Places to Carb Load for the St. Jude Marathon
You're running the St. Jude Marathon (or half marathon) this weekend. You need carbs, and lots of them. Here are 10 Memphis restaurants that can help you with that:
1. Pete & Sam's (3886 Park Avenue)
The all of the items listed under the "Italian dinners" section on the Pete & Sam's menu probably pack more carbs-per-meal than anywhere else in town. You'll get a huge, noodly entree with your choice of two sides: ravioli, spaghetti, pizza, Italian Spinach or a baked potato. Pro tip: Pete & Sam's is a local favorite, and it fills up on Friday nights. Make a reservation.
2. Lunchbox Eats (288 South 4th Street)
If you need to carb up but don't feel like eating pasta, have lunch at Lunchbox Eats on Friday. Order the Homeroom Chicken and Grids (a fried chicken sandwich that uses a Belgian waffle as bread) with a side of their secret recipe mac'n'cheese.
3. Dino's (645 North McLean Boulevard)
Dino's is a family-run greasy spoon of an Italian restaurant. While their normal dinners are plenty carb-heavy, marathoners won't want to miss Thursday night's all-you-can-eat spaghetti and garlic bread special.
4. Valenza Pasta (14 North McLean Boulevard)
If you'd rather prepare your pre-run pasta feast at home, pick up a big bag of homemade dry pasta from Valenza Pasta. They make their own pastas and sauce, and you can also get pre-made lasagna and sides to go.
5. Lucchesi's (540 S Mendenhall Rd # 3)
Lucchesi's Ravioli and Pasta company is another take-home option. You can pick up frozen containers of their house-made raviolis and pastas, loaves of thick Italian bread and homemade cakes (remember, cake is carbs, too). I recommend the butternut squash or pumpkin ravioli.
6. Brooklyn Bridge (1779 Kirby Pkwy # 5)
Brooklyn Bridge in East Memphis is a local favorite. They specialize in pizzas and pasta, and they serve dinner nightly. Make reservations before you go – they do get busy on the weekends.
7. Vanelli's Deli (7873 Farmington Boulevard)
If you're carb loading in the 'burbs (or want to get away from the downtown feeding frenzy), grab an early dinner at Vanelli's Deli in Germantown. You can't go wrong with their sandwiches and lasagna, but if they've got their house-made ravioli, you should eat that.
8. Spindini (383 South Main Street)
Memphis' best cougar bar (at least, according to the Flyer's readership) is also a great place to stuff yourself before the St. Jude marathon. The upscale Italian restaurant has big dishes that stick to your bones. For extra carbs, get the Tuscan Butter appetizer – it's warm goat cheese that you eat on breadsticks).
9. Ciao Bella (565 Erin Dr.)
Ciao Bella is a cozy East Memphis Italian restaurant that's been a neighborhood favorite for the past 10 years. They've got a huge menu with tons of carb loading options. If you're going the Friday before the marathon, make reservations at dinner. At lunch, eat at their more casual attached sister restaurant.
10. Coletta's (1063 S Parkway E.)
If you need carbs and protein and want a gastronomic experience that's completely Memphis, order the barbecue pizza at Coletta's. The restaurant has been open (and virtually unchanged) since 1923, and they have a special Elvis party room if you're carb loading with friends.