My first restaurant review on Petaluma 360 will fittingly be for 360 Subs located at…wait for it, wait for it…360 Petaluma Blvd. North. If you are one of my Yelp or Facebook friends, fans, or followers you know that I have an eye for detail and a stomach for flavor. This doesn’t mean that I won’t visit a buffet, crave fried SPAM, or try every “meat on a stick” offered at the Gnoss Concourse (Petaluma Fairgrounds), but there is a time and place for everything.

but…let’s get back to the sandies…

360 Subs is located where New York Subs formerly resided, across from the old Lombardi’s Bakery, so you might recognize the location but not know that this is a new sandwich shop. The shop is completely new and fresh, with a highly visible exterior, a comfy interior including a great painting of their logo — a sandwich inspired take on the “Led Zeppelin” album cover. When I visited, they had only been open for a few weeks. They were packed even though I was there a bit after the normal lunching hour. I was pleased to see a local tow truck pull up as I was walking in. (This is one of the cardinal rules of a good food hunt, “Follow the tow truck driver to find the best lunch spots,” trumped only by, “Never trust a skinny chef.” Hmmm…so maybe I shouldn’t trust a skinny tow truck driver either?)

…The Good
Great sandies, great meat, great selection, great creativity, great staff all around, you get a whole pickle with your sandie AND they have a BBQ going out front. Oh yeah, it is also good that they aren’t closer to my house because even having just devoured one of their sandies within the last hour just thinking about them makes me want to go back and try more.

…The Bad
They aren’t closer to my house. (Yeah, I know that is also on my “good” list…so zip it.)

…The Ugly
The dude at the Q had an interesting shoe hue. His feet were covered in a sheen of neon green that matched his 360 Sub T-shirt. But then again, that is more “funny” than “ugly,” and I admire people who don’t feel fenced in by conventional ideas of fashion and are more interested in being part of the 360 Subs cheering squad than concerning themselves with what others might think of their garb.

There were phone orders stacked up and the staff was busily making sandwiches as I stepped up to order. Thankfully, I could have thrown a dart at the board (not that I had one) and wouldn’t have come up with a bad choice.

“The Pinball Wizard,” “Forget Philly So. Co. Cheesesteak,” “Tsunami Bomb,” and “Jive Turkey” are only a few of their diverse and tasty sandwich choices. All the sandies are $6.95 with no extra charges for things like cheese.

I chose the “Royale With Cheese” because I can’t resist a sandie that boasts two kinds of meat…and we aren’t talking salami and turkey or ham and bacon…we are talking spicy Italian sausage and pastrami! The Royale comes with grilled onions (which I passed on), peppers, provolone, and special sauce. They offer their sandwiches on all kinds of fresh bread (too bad Lombardi’s is closed), and I chose my favorite/least favorite bread…the Dutch Crunch (love the flavor when they are soft but hate when you get a hard one and have to endure days of a torn apart palate.) 360’s was nice and soft and tasty…the best! And did I mention it came with a full pickle, not just a wedge? Nice touch! And not a sour pickle but something like a Claussen’s that you would get out of the jar in your own fridge to go along with the sandie you just labored over after starving through the first half of the ball game.

Don’t expect the sandwich to be produced in record time, like at Subway. These guys are making everything as they go, but the service was super friendly — they were more than happy to answer all my questions and my sandwich was delivered to me just in time since I had already chosen the next four or five sandies I am going to try. Although the grill out front doesn’t produce burgers (yet) they cook a good portion of their meat curbside. There is just something extra homey about eating at a place with a smoking BBQ continually belching away in the background. 360 also has chips, salads (not leafy types – potato, mac, pasta, and bean types), cookies, and sodas. I was pleased to see that right there on the front of the menu they state “Wherever possible, we strive to use local, sustainable products and produce from right here in Sonoma County,” and “We don’t believe in microwaves…”

They don’t currently offer beer or wine, but told me that they were thinking about it. I understand that the cost for the license might not make it worth it up front but eventually it would be nice to have a cold beer with my sandie (or burger?)

Something that always impresses me about a restaurant or shop is when they don’t take themselves too seriously. As I was sitting waiting for my sandwich, I noticed some bananas hanging on the corner of the counter just above some marshmallow whip, peanut butter and…. Nutella! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I know it sounds odd but I revel in the fact that there are comfort foods out there that sometimes scare people (like, vegemite, canned anchovies…and yes, Nutella).

I quickly scanned the menu to find out if it was true and sure enough, on the kid’s menu (sandwiches are only $3.95), I found the “Curious George” – the very same bananas, marshmallow, peanut butter and Nutella served on good old ‘murr-can white bread. Yeah baby! I don’t want one, but I think it is awesome that they aren’t so fancy as to keep something like that from their menu.

For those afraid to cross north of Washington Street for your lunch, 360 Subs promises delivery in the near future. For those brave of sole, do yourself a favor and take the short walk and try one of 360’s subs, but be careful…once you do, you will be going back for more. While you are walking up the Boulevard anyways, stop in to one of Ptown’s best kept secrets, the Military Museum at 300 PBN (Petaluma Blvd. North.)