13 Places To Carb Load For The Memphis St. Jude Marathon (Or Anytime)

Posted by Holly Whitfield | November 28th 2018 10055 0

If you’re running in this weekend’s Memphis St. Jude Marathon or half marathon, congratulations! You’re incredible. And you’re going to need some serious fuel.

Here’s a list of places to carb and calorie load before and after the big race. It’s a good mix of both established and new places to eat in Memphis. I’ve updated it for 2018.

Don’t forget – if you’re not running, or you’re doing the 5K, 10K, or half – come join at Mile 15 to cheer on the runners with the I Love Memphis Blog! Get all the details here

1. Local Gastropub (both locations – 95 S. Main and 2126 Madison)

This year, Local is serving a $14.99 all-you-can-eat pasta special at both locations, downtown and in Overton Square. They have two options: “Moroccan-spiced ragu with pappardelle and cavatappi with shrimp and pesto”.

2. Tug’s Grill (51 Harbor Town Square)
Tug’s in Harbor Town will offer a whole selection of pastas on Friday night: seafood pasta ($19), blackened chicken – pictured ($15), beef tip pasta ($17), and veggie pasta ($13).

3. Ciao Bella (565 Erin Drive)

ciao bella pasta piccolo sara - small

Ciao Bella is a family-run Italian restaurant in East Memphis with pizza, pastas, sandwiches, and more for lunch and dinner. Try their Piccolo Sara pasta with penne, goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and spinach, then add chicken or shrimp if you like.

4. Majestic Grille (145 S. Main Street)


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The Majestic Grill downtown will offer a pasta special on Friday night, in addition to their usual menu, which includes some seriously tasty flatbreads, a cheese ravioli, and a seafood linguini. My personal favorite from the Majestic is the pork tenderloin, served with carrots and mashed potatoes.

5. Krewe of Déjà Vu (936 Florida St.)

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Déjà Vu is a Creole-Cajun restaurant with all the usual po-boys and gumbos you’d expect, plus a huge vegetarian and vegan menu. Between the breaded fish on your French bread po boy, rice-based etouffes, and fried plantains, you’ll have your carb needs more than satisfied.

6. Hammer & Ale (921 S. Cooper Street)

Beer is carbs, duh, and there is no better excuse for day drinking than “I just ran a marathon.” At Hammer & Ale you can get a flight of beer, pints, or fill up a growler to take with you. They also have sandwiches (including the delightful pimento cheese grilled cheese and other snacks. Read more here.

7. Strano by Chef Josh (518 Perkins Extd.)

Load up on carbs Sicilian-style at Strano by Chef Josh, which moved locations from Cooper Young to East Memphis this year. Their pizza is delicious, their pastas are homemade, and the lunch, dinner, and brunch menus are full of other hearty, carb-laden goodies.

8. Fino’s from the Hill (703 W. Brookhaven Circle and 1853 Madison Avenue)

Whether you’re going for classic pasta or a sandwich on a big hunk of delicious fresh bread, Fino’s has two locations to help you out. They have daily pasta, sandwich, and soup specials, too. The midtown local is open until 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and the East Memphis location is open Monday through Friday until 7:30 p.m.

9. Blue Plate Cafe (5469 Poplar Ave. and 111 S. Court Ave.)

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Biscuits. Pancakes. Hashbrowns. Good for breakfast, good for brenner, good for runners. The East Memphis location (Poplar) is open during breakfast and lunch hours only, but the downtown location (off of Court Square) serves breakfast all day.

10. Crazy Noodle (2015 Madison Ave.)

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I’m going to be completely honest with you: I have no idea what the name of the above dish is. All I can tell you is that if you want to choose from a variety of delicious, satisfying Korean noodle dishes, head to the Crazy Noodle on Madison for lunch or dinner. Their menu has pictures, so you should be fine. Read more.

11. Hog and Hominy (707 W. Brookhaven Circle)

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Hog and Hominy’s wood-fired pizzas with thin, crispy-chewy crusts are perfect for carb-loading and oh-so-delicious. Head to the East Memphis eatery and try the ‘Shrooms pizza with arugula, mushrooms, and creamy cheeses, or, if you need some protein, too, go for the Red Eye Pizza with pork belly, celery leaves, and a fried egg.

12. Amerigo (1239 Ridgeway Road)

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Amerigo Italian restaurant has been an East Memphis favorite for years. They have all manner of classic Italian dishes (pastas, lasagna, pizza) and good drink specials. On Friday night from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., they’re offering 20 percent off select pasta and $1 off draft beers when you show your race bib.

13. Cafe Eclectic (603 N. McLean / 510 S. Highland St. / 111 Harbortown Sq.)

Cafe Eclectic

If you’re looking for baked goods like donuts – perhaps second only to pasta as an efficient carb-vehicle – then Cafe Eclectic has you covered. Their decadent handmade donuts (and other pastries and food) are available at all three locations: midtown, Harbor Town, and the U of M area. Bonus: They also have coffee. Which you also might need. Because caffeine.

13. Capriccio Grill (149 Union Ave.)


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The Capriccio Grill (located inside the Peabody Hotel) has a whole pasta and pizza section of the menu and is conveniently located downtown. Plus, you can take in the holiday decor in the lobby before or after your meal!


These are just a few options, of course. What are your favorite spots to carb load in Memphis?

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. Alex says:

    Its been too long since I had that Red Eye pizza at Hog and Hominy, so good. I plan to eat all of these things and "watch" the marathon. #maybenextyear

  2. I'm full just looking at the photos!  I'm looking forward to the race day excitement downtown!

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