Every year on July 4th, thousands line up next to Lenox Mall and get ready to run the largest 10K in the world. Now in it’s 46th year, the AJC Peachtree Road Race is an institution that brings in folks from all over the globe. The stretch from Buckhead to Piedmont Park is a giant party and the entire city is invited to take part, either as a runner or one of the many that cheers them on.
It’s not easy to run 6.2 miles in the punishing heat that is Atlanta in July, so it’s best to give your body all the fuel it needs. That means carbing up! Thankfully our carb-loving town has no shortage of spots for runners and spectators alike. Here are just a few spots to hit up before the big day. And if you're looking for a place to eat and cheer along the route, make sure to stop by one of these local spots.
La Tavola - Virginia Highland
You want spaghetti, you want meatballs; you go to La Tavola. Tucked into Virginia Highland, La Tavola has been serving up one of our favorite versions of spaghetti and meatballs for years. The pasta is made from scratch and tossed in a traditional tomato sauce with fresh basil. The meatballs are made with veal and have just the right amount of body.
Bell Street Burritos - Multiple locations
When else can you dive face first into a giant burrito guilt-free? Our favorite one is found at Bell Street Burritos. You can build your dream burrito out of any number of fillings. However, our go-to is always pork, cilantro, green chilis (very important) and a side of the green salsa. Sometimes we throw some broccoli in there to make ourselves feel healthy. Ask them to throw it on the griddle and prepare for burrito Nirvana. If you have not been to the one at Sweet Auburn Market, go! One of the best, and old school, food halls and markets in Atlanta.
Boccalupo - Inman Park
Of course we have to include some of the best pasta in town on a list for carbing up! Boccalupo has completely changed the pasta game in town. Chef Bruce Logue does some kind of magic back in the kitchen, and it couldn’t make us happier. If you want a little spice with your pasta, check out the black spaghetti. It’s made with a house made pasta that uses squid ink to get its distinctive color. No, it doesn’t taste fishy. Yes, it’s fabulous. That pasta is tossed with hot calabrese sausage, red shrimp and scallions. You wouldn’t be the first person to lick the bowl.
Highland Bakery -Multiple locations
Who says you have to carb up with a giant bowl of pasta? Why not dive into a pile of fluffy sweet potato pancakes from Highland Bakery? Move over buttermilk pancakes, there’s a star at the brunch table. They have just right amount of sweetness, and are served with a warm caramelized brown sugar syrup and toasted pecans. While you’re there, grab a few cookies to have at the finish line. The oatmeal cupcakes are some of the best in town.
Nuam Phuong - Buford Highway
Ok, this one might belong in the ‘best thing to slurp while recovering from your race’ category. But, who are we to judge if you have a bowl before and after. This big, steaming bowl of happiness has everything you need. Thin, fresh noodles, sliced steak for a boost of protein and fresh herbs for all that flavor. It’s all swimming in a salty broth that will both replenish you and warm you through all at once.
Cibo e Beve - Sandy Springs
If you want a bottomless bowl of pasta - all while keeping it local - head straight to Sandy Springs. The Thursday and Friday nights before the race, Cibo e Beve is giving runners who bring in their race numbers a pre-race, all you can eat pasta dinner for $16. You’ll have the choice of Spaghetti Pomodoro, Ziti Bolognese or Rigatoni with broccoli and cannellini.
The Cafe at The Ritz Carlton - Buckhead
Want a little ‘treat yo’self while carbing up? After all you are about to run up Cardiac Hill. The Cafe at The Ritz Carlton will be serving up treats like brioche French toast with fresh berries and warm maple syrup, and house-smoked salmon on a bagel with sliced tomato, red onion capers and cream cheese. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, try some rich house-made risotto dishes with scallops or calamari. While you’re there, maybe rent a room and have some bubbly waiting for you when you return. You earned it.