Branch manager of Dunder Mifflin, Michael Scott knows the recipe to a successful race: "carbo-loading." It's where you eat a gluttonous load of carbohydrates, usually in the form of pasta, until you feel like you might vomit, which Michael ultimately does. But everything in moderation, of course. You may not be Michael Phelps with a daily calorie intake of 12,000 calories, but you're going to need that big bowl of four-cheese fettuccini to make it through the 10K Cooper River Bridge Run on Saturday morning. We've got the lowdown on where to get your pre-race oodles of noodles.
If you're on the downtown side of the bridge this evening, head over to Pane e Vino, a classy little Italian gem on Warren Street where they're serving pasta just like your Italian grandmother makes it. We suggest the spaghetti bolognese. The classic sauce is slow-cooked and made in house with pork and beef. It comes richly layered in a generous bowl of noodles with plenty of grated parmesan cheese ($15). Or you could venture out to try the Ravioli alla Casalinga, a homemade spinach and ricotta ravioli served in a light, smoked prosciutto "speck" and asparagus cream sauce ($17).
"Where pasta is king," Joe Pasta on King Street is offering patrons the chance to design their own pasta, choosing from a variety of noodle, sauce, meat, seafood, and veggies to make a dish all their own. If the choices are too daunting, choose from the pre-set menu. Take the gorgonzola chicken pasta served with a rich gorgonzola-cream sauce with grilled chicken and roasted red peppers tossed in spaghettini ($11.99) Or try the lobster asparagus ravioli stuffed with cheese and served in a lobster-based cream sauce with tomatoes and fresh basil ($14.99). Either one will get you fueled up.
Situated right by Saturday morning's starting line, Italian restaurant Sette is the perfect spot on the Mt. Pleasant side for dinner before the race. Get your cheesy fix with their popular four-cheese fettuccini, served with equal amounts of gorgonzola, pecorino romano, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. The dish is finished off with cracked black pepper and roasted garlic ($13). If you like your carbohydrates with a side of protein, try the seafood fettuccini featuring a spicy tomato sauce, calamari, shrimp, clams, and mussels ($17). Each dish is delivered to the table by a waiter with a cheese grater, so pile on the parm; you know when to say when.
If a pound of pasta isn't for you, get in an energy-filled dinner at one of Charleston's health-nut hotspots.
For the elite runners, the crazies who are going to run the bridge in under 50 minutes, a variety of energy-boosting options are available at Sprout, an organic café and juice bar in Mt. Pleasant. For a burst of energy before the race, throw back a wheatgrass shot ($3.75) or pop one of Sprout's Energy Delights, small balls of raw caçao, walnuts, almonds, dates, pumpkin seeds, raisins, flax, and agave, spun with spiralina, and rolled in chopped nuts ($6.25). For post-race thirst, owner Mickey Brennan says, "Beet juice is amazing after your run. It opens up your arteries, reduces your blood pressure, and helps your muscles get oxygen faster." Try the Refresher, a juice blend of beets, celery, apple, and carrot for rehydrating after the race ($5.95).
Dubbing itself an "energy food restaurant," Black Bean Company is the place to get your protein fix before the race with their variety of healthy wraps, gyros, salads, and vegan and vegetarian options. The menu offers an entire category of "Power Gyros" featuring wraps like the California Veggie. With your choice of chicken, turkey, or tofu, the wrap is served with black beans and Jasmine rice, red cabbage, pico de gallo, and guacamole ($5.50). For the vegetarian, look under the "Pure Energy Wraps" for the Heart and Spinach wrap featuring artichoke hearts, Italian tofu, spinach, goat cheese, marinated olives, roasted sweet peppers, roasted tomatoes, and basil oil with your choice of a side ($8.95).