Bites: What Read & Run Chicago’s Allison Yates Eats in a Day

Allison Yates, founder of Read & Run Chicago

Allison Yates began Read & Run Chicago after realizing her two loves, reading and running, were both allowing her to explore, experience and connect with Chicago in an exciting way. Whether it is noticing historic architecture, bakeries, or picnic spots, Yates found a burgeoning curiosity that she wanted to share with new and avid runners. Yates has held these running literary events across the city, exploring different neighborhoods, routes of landmarks mentioned in novels, and natural areas. Past books have included: Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers, Jennifer Billock's Historic Chicago Bakeries, and Rick Karlin and St Sukie de la Croix's Last Call Chicago. You can lace up and join Read & Run for future bookish runs by signing up on their website (mileage and pace are listed for each run), or you can do a casual stroll of the below hot spots that Yates likes to visit in a day as a warm up. Be prepared to carbo load.

It's first thing in the morning, coffee or tea? And who does your favorite brew?
It's always herbal tea first to settle my stomach/wake me up with something hot, followed by coffee with breakfast. Metric's brew is my favorite in Chicago.

For the most important meal of the day aka breakfast, where do you go and what do you order?
If I'm eating at home, I go for homemade protein pancakes (Greek yogurt, egg whites, and oats with ginger, dates, and cinnamon) or simple eggs and toast with breakfast salad, but if I eat out, particularly after a long run, I LOVE Hero's Smooth Criminal breakfast sandwich or Colectivo Coffee's breakfast burrito. I also have a weakness for pastries, particularly by Lost Larson and Aya.

Metric Coffee. Photo by Allison Yates

Are you a grab and go lunch eater or a slow sit-down type? What's your place and order?
I prefer a slow sit-down type of lunch, but I usually overbook myself and/or get hyped on running around and end up grabbing something quick. You'll often find me grabbing tacos (I often ordered from La Condesa or Antique Taco when I worked in West Town) or empanadas (5411 or Cafe Tola), Chipotle or Sweetgreen.

Afternoon pick me up? Snack? Caffeine or happy hour? Where is your favorite spot to jump start the evening?
I'm much more likely to have coffee (and probably a treat) in the afternoon over happy hour, especially because I often run in the evenings! If I am going to have a drink to start the evening, depending on the type of evening, of course, I am honestly never disappointed with a simple wine and snacks picnic at the lake, the best spot in Chicago. Whether you're having a calm night in or going out, it's calming, social, and gives you a little bit of nature time.

Dinner time, what place or meal brings your day to a close the right way?
The best dinner is usually a new and exciting dinner. I have a few spots I love and would go back to again and again (like Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, lol, or Raman-san or Mi Tocaya), but really the best way to close out a day is to grab friends (or yourself!) and do something you love. For me, that's usually trying something new, seeing a new neighborhood, experiencing a new type of cuisine, or making sure I use a meal as an opportunity to foster my friendships. For example, I joined some friends who started an annual goulash night going to different restaurants each time.

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Caroline Huftalen

Caroline L. Huftalen is the food editor at Third Coast Review and columnist behind Dear Cinnamon. Her reviews and interviews can also be seen on BuskingAtTheSeams.com. Huftalen is the founder of Survivors Project, Inc. which raises awareness for domestic violence by sharing stories of survival. A graduate of the University at Buffalo and the Savannah College of Art of Design. Huftalen lives in Chicago with her family and is currently writing a novel.