Fast food generally doesn’t equal good food if your definition of good is healthful, delicious, and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. But Petaluma’s Lunchette has cracked the code. They even have a formula for it.
“We wanted to offer a convenient way for people in a hurry such as ourselves to eat healthy, delicious, chef-driven, farm-produced, balanced and nourishing food,” says owner Naomi Crawford. “We always balance each meal with an 85/15 philosophy where 85 percent of what's in the bowl is healthy, and 15 percent is a treat. So there is always a treat element, whether it be candied almonds on the farro salad, or dates on the chickpea salad.”
“We wanted to offer a convenient way for people in a hurry such as ourselves to eat healthy"
The cheery, six-year-old downtown restaurant has become a mainstay of the town’s food scene because it offers a changing menu of takeout food from local farms and purveyors that ranges from big, entree salads, thick slices of square-cut pizza, homemade soups and a changing menu of hearty grain bowls like brown rice topped with kimchi and roasted mushrooms or chickpeas and rice with pickled cauliflower, cucumbers and roasted sweet potatoes. The Meyer lemon and berry pot de crème and tahini-miso cookies are must-gets as well.
"[Lunchette] offers a changing menu of takeout food from local farms and purveyors"
Look for additions to the regular menu like meatballs made with Stemple Creek Ranch beef and pork, or polenta topped with mushrooms, delicata squash and pea shoots and other goodness. The restaurant offers a small, but well curated selection of housewares (candles, flatware, toiletries) and other goodies chosen with the same reverence for local vendors and quality as the menu.
“Our mission is that everyone, everything in our community should thrive,”
Lunchette goes ever further. They are active supporters of Zero Foodprint, an organization that seeks to use community to fund the return of conventional agricultural land to regenerative agriculture. The restaurant also donates weekly to UnaVida, which supports food insecure families in Petaluma, and monthly to the Downtown Streets Team, which also supports the unhoused.
“Our mission is that everyone, everything in our community should thrive,” says Crawford. “This starts with farms, supporting local organic regenerative farms, but it extends to the artisans with products on our shelves, to the biodegradable packaging our food is packaged in, to the way we collaborate with non-profits.”