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Jun 14, 2011 06:17 PM

Petaluma: Lombardi’s Deli and BBQ

Looking for classic American sandwiches, Lombardi’s was perfect. Add barbeque and it doesn’t get more American … or Californian … than this.

Many of the deli meats such as the roast beef and turkey are made in-house. There’s a nice selection of salads (including four types of potato salad), local micro-brewery beers, wine and sodas. There were about a dozen different varieties of root beer.

Large black barrel barbecue smokers and other grills run along the front the deli.

This is the last remaining location of this family-owned deli. The downtown Petaluma and Cotati locations have closed.

I was assured that this store was still family-owned and going strong. There was a steady stream of customers dropping by for the barbeque and deli food. Here’s an old report of mine about the great barbequed oysters.

Lombardi’s week-end BBQ oysters ... kind of excellent ... how’s the other BBQ?

One person replied “I think Lombardi's has the absolute best bbq ribs around”. There are some thumbs up on the web for Lombardi’s BBQ lamb sandwiches, pulled pork and baked beans.

The Padroni’s potato salad is a favorite of some Chowhounds. This post has a nice description and some history.

Here's what I had rated from A+ to F -

B + … Turkey sandwich

B …... Roast beef sandwich

B + … Barbequed asparagus

B - ..... Padroni potato salad

B …... Beer

Service: B - ... Very good

Ambiance: C ... Average

Price: $$

Flickr photostream

Details in first reply.

Lombardi's Deli
3413 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

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  1. TURKEY SANDWICH: B + … Very, very good

    Everything was perfect about this sandwich, thin slices of turkey breast, cranberry sauce and excellent stuffing. What really made this sandwich was the soft roll that was like sandwich-sized dinner roll. It was Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich.

    BARBEQUED ASPARAGUS: B + … Very, very good

    They are bbq’d to order and hot off the grill, the tasty thick spears dressed with lemon, olive oil and salt were simple goodness.

    ROAST BEEF SANDWICH: B … Above average

    I enjoyed the rare, but not obnoxiously bloody, house-roasted beef on soft sourdough with lettuce, tomato and mayo.

    Sandwiches are wrapped in white butcher paper.

    PADRONI POTATO SALAD: B - ... Very good

    Like a lot of Lombardi’s food, the potato salad is simple and understated, featuring the main ingredient. Here’s an old report that describes it best with the history.

    “Years ago, when Pedroni's still existed, they pasted on their deli case a letter from Bon Appetit, noting that a subscriber had asked the magazine to see if Pedroni's would pass along their recipe. Pedroni's declined, keeping the recipe secret, and long after this Petaluma landmark closed, it was sold to Lombardi's and Petaluma Market, where I stumbled upon it thanks to a rumor.

    So what's the glory of Pedroni's Potato Salad? The utter simplicity of it. Completely devoid of complicating additions such as chopped egg, celery, pickles, paprika, bacon etc. From what Mom & I have determined, it's as simple as white vinegar, homemade mayonnaise, parsley, pimiento, and potatoes. It is rich, yet with a straightforward cleanness of taste. I have yet to find a potato salad that compares.”

    It isn’t for everyone. It is not razzle, dazzle. Just as the simplicity of Chez Panisse isn’t for everyone.

    There were downhill reports and a few years ago someone responded saying the pots used to make the potato salad had been lost. However, some comparable pots had been located and it would be improved. I never had the original, so can’t say if it is better, worse, or the same. I liked the straight-foward salad.

    BEER: B … Above average

    There’s a nice selection in the cooler of local micro breweries. I had the Red Rooster ale which I liked a lot

    SERVICE: B - ... Very good

    It is counter service and the deli people are always friendly and helpful.

    AMBIANCE: C ... Average

    There’s an indoor area to eat with a big screen tv or you can eat on the large veranda outside that is shaded by large trees. There are a few picnic tables on the lawn. Pay at the counter and your order is brought to you.

    Still, it is more of a take out place rather than someplace to hang out.


    Lombardi’s is a great choice. I wish them a long life. I’ll definitely be back

    5 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Lombardi's is decent but now that there is Water Street Bistro, Della Fattoria in Petaluma and JavAmore in Penngrove I would rather go to one of those for a (non-bbq) sandwich than Lombardi's as they are better quality.

      I have yet to try the BBQ sandwiches at The Barbecue Pit in Petaluma that just opened a month or so.

      Della Fattoria
      141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

      Water Street Bistro
      100 Petaluma Blvd N Ste 106, Petaluma, CA 94952

      10101 Main, Penngrove, CA 94951

      The Barbecue Pit
      600 E Washington St, Petaluma, CA 94952

      1. re: Scott M

        Yeah, but I wasn't looking for upscale sandwiches. I was going to stop at Della Fattoria, but they were closed. At any rate, for what I wanted, that turkey sandwich was a lot better to me than anything DF had to offer ... not to say I don't like DF. I just wasn't in the mood for that type of sandwich.

        Looking forward to your report on The Barbecue Pit when you try it.

        1. re: rworange

          I used to get the turkey at Lombardi's and it is a very good turkey sandwich. I came up with my own sandwich combination at Lombardi's where I would get a salmon sandwich and have them put coleslaw and pickles(I would rather capers but I don't think they have them) on it and nothing else. It was pretty good but a bit messy.

      2. re: rworange

        wow, rw, glad I am not taking a class from you...the turkey sandwhich was 'perfect' but only got a B+? In my book, that makes you a tough grader.. :-)

        anyway, I haven't tried Lombardi's but this comment and post is mostly just an excuse to say Welcome Back! The SF board definitely missed you....

        1. re: susancinsf

          I don't give a lot of A's. From the detail on my A and B categories

          The A-list … Exceptional

          If this was a person it would be (in alphabetical order) Buddha, Jesus or Yahweh … you get the idea. If this was a place it would be paradise.

          A + … Beyond exceptional Food of the gods. Buy a soapbox and start preaching about it
          A …… Exceptional. Tell everyone you know about it. Post raves
          A - …. Way above average. Recommend highly. Post glowing Chowhound report.

          The B-list Very good

          If this was a person it would be your best friend. Sure, they are special, but unless you are Gail King, other people probably might not appreciate what you do. In the mortal realm, Oprah would be A-List. Gail is B-list. Harsh, but true. If it was a place it would be your dream house.

          B + …. Very, very good. Make a point of telling people about it.
          B …… Above average Post positive Chowhound report
          B - ..... Very good Recommend when asked about good eats

          Though ... now she's retired, so to speak, Oprah might have moved to the B list.

      3. I stopped ordering barbecue sandwiches there a long time ago because they'd take the pre-sliced and refrigerated meat from the cooler and microwave it. That wasn't good at all. Does anyone know if they still do this, or if there are known times when you can get "fresh" barbecue instead of refrigerated and re-heated?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

          They bbq on the weekends and it is hot off the grill at that time. Otherwise, it is best to ask before ordering.