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If you’re in town for Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle or any other running event, a newcomer’s trip must include the infamous Pike Place Market, the SkyCity Restaurant at the Space Needle (if it has availability!) and the original Starbucks location. Here are 10 other go-to places to eat and drink both before and after the race.
Barrio Mexican Kitchen & Bar (1420 12th St.) dishes up familiar Mexican fare plus some: Consider the tacos with roasted beets—they’re scientifically proven to boost your running performance. Also you might not be able to resist the guac-and-salsa sampler—there are six house-made salsas!
Bitterroot BBQ (5239 Ballard Ave. NW) is a favorite of Devon Yanko, who won the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon. The menu goes beyond all kinds of meats (wait until after the race if you want to try the Cowboy Killer—chicken, brisket, ribs, pulled pork and 3 sides) and gets creative with mac & cheese, salads and apps, such as the pink, pickled deviled eggs, bacon and greens.
Fremont Brewing Urban Beer Garden (1050 N. 34th St.) has a huge patio, offers (free!) apples and pretzels for snacking, and it’s across the street from the Brooks Trailhead (the store at Brooks HQ, the apparel partner for the race series, is a must visit). Deb Maier, a member of the Brooks Beasts track team, says, “They have great outdoor seating, and it’s right on Lake Union. Their Dark Star beer is great for after a big race.”
Related: A San Diego Runner’s Beer Guide
Japonessa Sushi Cocina (1400 First Ave.) makes “crazy sushi rolls and is super hip and delish,” says one runner. They also have the perfect signature roll for the weekend: The Rockstar includes creamy scallops, tobiko, avocado, tempura, topped with seared spicy crab and drizzled with soy glaze.
Palomino Restaurant & Bar (1420 Fifth Ave.) is a favorite for carbo-loading, with pizza that features hand-pulled fresh mozzarella and a rigatoni bolognese that’s to die for. The lunch menu has excellent combos with soup, salad, sandwich and/or pasta.
Portage Bay (multiple locations) is excellent for replenishing after the race (breakfast and lunch only). Maier says, “They have fresh local food that’s organic. They’re hefty portions and they have an amazing fresh fruit bar.” We’re eyeing the vegetable frittata!
Seattle Center Armory (305 Harrison St.) is right near the start and finish area and has a bunch of restaurants and bars to lure you into the historic building. Blue Water Taco Grill & Cantina (coastal Mexican), Plum Pantry (vegan, organic and local) and Skillet : Counter (upscale diner chow) are top recommendations.
Tom Douglas Restaurants (multiple locations) are best known for their award-winning chef and the fresh ingredients that come from the family farm east of Seattle in Washington wine country. His most famous dish is the triple coconut cream pie at Dahlia Lounge, but Tom’s Big Breakfast at Lola is a bestseller, with it’s red-wine braised octopus, toast, bacon and eggs.
Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts & Coffee (multiple locations) has so many locations, you’re bound to be near one dishing up nostalgia alongside its secret 1920s doughnut recipe. If you’re feeling fancy, order the Feather Boa with icing and coconut. (And if you’re local, look for Top Pot at events with the running store Super Jock ‘n Jill.)
Von’s Gustobistro (1225 First St.) is the place to go wild with seafood. When in Seattle, you must eat salmon—is that a saying?! In addition to mouth-watering dishes from the sea, Von’s also serves up sourdough pasta and pizza and, yes, they have the largest selection of fine spirits in town.
For more ideas, check out visitseattle.org.