One of my favorite Southern Sonoma County-based first families of food, Naomi and Joel (of Pizza Politana fame) opened the doors this spring to Lunchette — their brand new carryout lunch spot, opposite the museum in downtown Petaluma's bustling boutique shopping neighborhood.
What a terrific addition to healthy takeout options here in the south county. Lunchette is conveniently located at 25 Fourth Street in the space that was until fairly recently, home to my friend Suzanne Alexandre's popular Free Range Provisions. While we all miss popping in to see Suzanne and browse her quintessential California lifestyle home goods, artisan products and accessories, we'll be seeing more of her Free Range creative enterprise as it evolves away from brick and mortar in months to come.
Meanwhile, dynamic husband and wife team, Joel and Naomi are a perfect fit for this particular space and Lunchette was bustling with an energetic and positive vibe during my first pit-stop in to grab a tasty lunch to go.
Following extensive careers of professional cooking in the Bay Area (Chez Panisse, Liberty Café, Woodward’s Garden, the Slow Club and PlumpJack) Joel and Naomi met while working together at The Village Pub. They launched Pizza Politana in 2006, after being inspired by the simplicity and deliciousness of Naples’ wood-fired pizzas combined with the local-centric cooking of their Sonoma county community.
Naomi explained the couple's philosophy toward food. "We believe in the 85 /15 rule —85% of the things we do and eat should be good for us, the planet, and our community. That allows us to indulge 15% of the time!"
Lunchette's mission is to provide a mostly plant-based carryout menu where each meal is so delicious you won’t notice that what you’re eating is actually good for you.
"All of our salad bowls are grab-and-go ready as our goal is to bring quick serve to all the people who work in and around downtown, like us," said Naomi. "We will offer five or more prepackaged salads at a time, using all biodegradable packaging. Most salads will be vegan and gluten free, with available add-ons such as chicken salad, smoked trout salad and soft boiled egg."
Salads are priced between $8 and $12. For those who require something more robust, several different types of in house focaccia, made with organic whole wheat white and spelt flours, and topped with delicious seasonal ingredients are available at the counter. Slices are priced between $5 and $7.
"And for a sweet finish, we are taking ourselves to task with the 85/15 rule!," said Naomi. "We will be offering both an almond flour cakelette and a cookie that is vegan and gluten free." Sweets are priced between $2 and $4. Look for a range of Hu Kitchen chocolates, too.
If you need something to grab and take home, or to work or to the office to eat, Lunchette offers enticing combinations of flavors, colors and textures and high quality seasonal ingredients.
"Lunchette is ideally located for those who work and shop downtown, as well as those in neighboring business areas to stop in and pick up meals for their employees and clients," said Naomi. "We hope to provide something perfect for every palette, every person and every group!"
Naomi explained how she has put a lot of thought and planning into offering a range of foods and juices that caters to customers and friends who have been through or are going through chemo and/or radiation. Sugar-less juices and no sugar in the salad dressings certainly are the way forward health-wise.
Although there is no in-store seating, customers are welcome to eat at a stand-up bar, or on loaner picnic blankets provided for those who'd like to sit across the street on the grass in from of the Historical Museum and Library, as well as a picnic table out front.
Joel and Naomi and their family have given much to our community since moving here from San Francisco to raise their kids. It's exciting to see them launch into another timely new chapter and I wish them all the best in their downtown business. I'm sure I'll be seeing you at Lunchette!
Lunchette A carryout lunch spot 25 4th street Petaluma, CA 94952
Opening Hours: Tues - Sat, 10:30 am-2:30 pm