This might be my favorite article to write because as much as I love working out and finding new ways to sweat around Columbus, I love to carb load, whether there is any reason to or not. But, with Cap City coming up this weekend, the smart runner knows that Friday (and Thursday's!) night’s meal should include lots of good carbs for quick and accessible energy for your big run. You will want to make sure your Friday meals are full of high-carb, low-fiber meals to ensure you run your best. Do your best to also reduce the amount of protein and fats (cheeses, creams, butter, etc.) for one or two days before. With all that in mind, below are the top ten places we love around Columbus to carb load ahead of the Cap City half and quarter marathons.
1. Sammy’s New York Bagels
Sammy’s is a deliver-to-your-door bagel company that also has some other baked goods on their menu. Sammy’s is the perfect way to get hot, fresh bagels at your doorstep race morning, or even the day before to ensure you have enough carbs to power you through Cap City. They deliver to most Columbus’ suburbs, and they have just about every kind of bagel you can think of. Make sure you order by 3:00 to ensure they arrive the next day, fresh on your doorstep when you wake up!
2. Northstar Cafe
Everyone has been to Northstar, so there is nothing we’ll tell you about how fantastic their food is that you don’t already know. However, lost in the quest for pasta are all the great carby options Northstar has, like their Buddah Bowl, Square Meal, Korma Bowl, or one of their delicious burritos (pictured above is Northstar's Thai Burrito). Oh, and they have the best pancakes in the world, so there’s that...
3. Vittoria Ristorante & Bar
Vittoria is on the fancier side of carb-loading, but their menu rivals any Italian restaurant you’ve ever been to. Vittorio, their maitre d (aka professional host) is one of my absolute favorite people in the world (with the coolest tie collection you’ve ever seen). The service at Vittoria is top notch, and their menu is straight out of the Motherland. Get their gnocchi...no get their vegetarian penne...no get their lasagna. Better yet, get all of it and have some for dinner!
This ramen shop on Bethel serves up some of the very best noodles in Columbus. They offer ramen in either chicken stock or vegetable stock, which is perfect for vegetarians like me. The staff is super friendly and will help you find the perfect bowl.
5. Borgata Pizza Cafe
Borgata makes homemade pasta, and their pizza is great too (but try to limit the cheese while carb loading). For delishious pizza, pasta, and calzones, the price point is way lower than what it probably should be. They are located in Worthington, and every single thing we’ve tasted is perfectly cooked and so so good. One of our favorites is the cavatelli pasta (little shells) with their marinara sauce.
6. Villa Nova
Villa Nova has a special place in our hearts because it’s our parents favorite place in Columbus to meet for dinner. Their food is fantastic though, and they have the best breadsticks! The staff is very friendly, and the bar is always welcoming (in case you wanted to go back after the race, of course). Portions aren’t too big, but the menu has every kind of pasta, pizza, or dish you’d hope to see.
7. Sushi Ten
You didn’t think about sushi as a way to carb load, did you? Well, as long as you’re smart about it, you can get the perfect carb-heavy meal before Cap City. The trick is, stick to veggie sushi and limit the protein from the raw fish. It’s odd ordering veggie sushi at a traditional sushi restaurant, but they do have plenty of options that you can mix in with a few of their fish rolls. They also are the sushi place for party trays, in case you are having a big pre-Cap party Friday!
Located in the North Market, Pastaria has traditional Italian dishes that all cost $7.99. Everything is super fresh and makes for a great lunch. Plenty of options that are all perfect to eat there or take home. There might not be a better quality vs. cost option to fuel your big race this weekend!
Everyone knows about Katalina’s famous pancake balls, and if you don’t, well, perfect time to try them, right?!? They are only open from 8:00-3:00, so make sure you plan ahead. Their lunch is fantastic, but they are known for their breakfast and brunch. Aside from the pancake balls, make sure you try their Sunrise Sammy, a vegetarian twist on a pork and egg sandwich that is absolutely perfect.
10. Thai Grille in Westerville
This hidden gem is right in the heart of Westerville, and has some of the best pad thai in the city (extra spicy for me!). Thai food is a great alternative to anyone looking to carb load that might be sensitive to cheese before a big endurance race. Their dishes are noodle and rice focused, with tons of fresh and tasty vegetables that make for the perfect night-before meal. They always have a table available, so check them out and get ready to crush Cap City this Saturday!
What places are we missing? Where will you carb load the final hours leading up to the race?
Ryan and Kelly of Sweat Local Columbus