What's the mark of a serious bodybuilder in training? It ain't muscles – nope, that would be too easy. Give up? It's a cooler. Eating can be a real drag, and of course, all that cooking isn't much fun either. Ah, for a world where there's a restaurant for bodybuilders on every corner instead of a McD's. While that isn't the case, we can at least raise a glass (of whey) to those places that do make a menu with the musclemen in mind.
The granddaddy of them all has to be The Firehouse in Venice, California, not too far from Muscle Beach. Every major bodybuilder has traveled to the mecca of Muscle Beach at least once, and chances are, once he was done, he went to The Firehouse to eat. (Hint, hint to the bodybuilding tourist.) Love it or hate it (they apparently have sushi on the menu now), you have to acknowledge its place in history.
If you're living in New Jersey or New York, you have some great joints to eat at. First, you can stop in at Muscle Maker Grill to get your protein and complex carb fix. Now with eleven locations in Jersey and more planned, they may not be McD's, but they're trying. Their menu has everything a growing bodybuilder needs, including whey protein smoothies, wraps and entrees such as lemon pepper chicken with steamed broccoli on brown rice. Or, if you find yourself in Manhattan, stop by The Pump and build the perfect meal of steamed veggies, protein, a tasty sauce and some good fats.
If you find yourself on the other coast, I've heard good things about Rocky Cola Cafe. Though their website seems to be on the fritz, I've heard this Fifties-diner-style restaurant has a pretty solid bodybuilder menu. You'll find a location in Montrose, California, and another in Hermosa Beach.
Going to Florida? Get your chicken and rice on at either Chick-N-Grill or Chicken Kitchen. Both menus are similar: Order a Chop at one or a Chop-Chop at the other, and you'll get grilled chicken with rice (you'll want brown, of course), and if you like, you can add beans, tomatoes and some less-than-healthy choices.
That's just a taste of the bodybuilder-friendly restaurants out there. I know there are hundreds more, and that's not counting the places that do requests. Guess what? I'd like to hear them all. Where do you go in your hometown that has a specific menu for gym rats like us? Let me know.