Newly minted restaurateur Tim Tatum (who developed several multi-story loft houses along G Street in Petaluma’s warehouse district) always envisioned this cozy corner as a gathering spot for the 150-plus new residences along this once-stark industrial stretch along the Petaluma River . (Three Twins Ice Cream and Cowgirl Creamery have warehouses across the street and the wildly popular Aqus Cafe and Sonoma Portworks are just a block away).
“We want it to have that moth-to-flame feel at night,” says Tatum, pointing to the neon sign LUMA sign that flickers on at dusk. With warm interior lights, clink of glasses and drifting scent of pizza spilling onto the sidewalks, its starting to feel that way, he says.
Over the last several months, Tatum has been building out the space and gathering up local talent to make this more than a watering hole, but a solid eatery as approachable to loft-dwellers and those in nearby established neighborhoods bordering the burgeoning warehouse district.
Open for lunch and dinner, Luma’s menu is a shifting landscape of small plates, afternoon sandwiches, pizzas and heartier Wine Country-Italian fare for dinner. Nothing’s overly precious, though there are drizzles and shavings here and there that remind you that you’re in Sonoma County. And though the wood-oven is a centerpiece of the kitchen, Tatum’s careful not to call Luma a pizzeria. Exec chef Jen Solomon (District, AsiaSF) masterminds the menu while Elizabeth Takuchi-Krist serves (Rubicon, Wine Spectrum) is bar and wine consultant, which means a cleverly-thought out wine list featuring some very unusual suspects (Slovenian furmint?) at weeknight-out prices.
The kitchen’s still perfecting flavors and techniques while the menu settles in, but early best bets include: Oven roasted pear, mache and blue cheese crostone with Marshall’s Farm honey drizzle ($9.50), Satan’s Kiss pizza, $15 (roasted cherry peppers, suasage, mozzarella, ricotta, leeks and bit of sweet heat); Korean bbq chicken banh mi with pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro, jalapeno and sriracha mayo wrapped up with a side of slaw ($11). Sandwiches disappear in the evening, replaced by larger-plate dishes including ancho-rubbed skirt steak with chimichurri, filo-wrapped salmon and a pasta or risotto of the night. Don’t miss: For dessert the chocolate pot de creme is an outrageously tasty splurge.
Luma, 500 First Street, Petaluma, 658.1940. Monday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Closed on Sunday. lumapetaluma.com