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Mac's Deli, Down-Home Vibe: Run by the Soltani family since 1970, this is the real down-home deal, complete with counter dining, vinyl booths, the best Reuben in town and servers who know their regulars. The menu offers something for every lunch craving: breakfast-for-lunch options like benedicts, omelettes and pancakes; 47 types of sandwiches; burgers; combination plates and massive salads. 630 4th St., 707-545-3785. (John Burgess)
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The Club Sandwich with avocado and seasoned curly fries from Mac's Deli in downtown Santa Rosa. (John Burgess)
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Waitress April Reeves at Mac's Deli and Cafe in Santa Rosa. (John Burgess)
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La Rosa Tequileria and Grille, Nice Weather Lunch: Escape your cubicle and feel transported to southern latitudes on La Rosa's sun-dappled patio. The menu features a variety of Mexican eats like combo plates with street tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and chile relleno and a Carne Asada Tradicional large enough to last you two more lunches. 500 4th Street, 707-523-3663. (Beth Schlanker)
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Pork Posole at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in Santa Rosa. (Beth Schlanker)
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Chicken fajitas and a Prickly Pear Margarita at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in Santa Rosa. (Beth Schlanker)
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Brew Coffee and Beer, Laptop Lunch and Best Avo Toast: This cool corner coffee shop is the kind of place where creative types and local entrepreneurs (sans office) start the day with a pour-over and end it with a pint. Take a break from your hunched over laptop state by checking out some art on the wall and trying out one of the best avocado toasts in town. Take it up a notch with the Rainbow Toast, featuring avocado, goat cheese, pickled onions, watermelon radish, carrot, grape tomato, balsamic reduction and micro-greens. 555 Healdsburg Avenue. (Shana Bull)
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El Coqui, Caribbean Comfort With a Side of Salsa Tunes: The sky is as grey as the office interior and you just got publicly shamed in an email chain with 20 cc:ed coworkers — head to El Coqui. Grandma-style Puerto Rican dishes served on colorful Fiesta plates and the background salsa music will pick you up in no time. The staff is very friendly, too. Order the Pollo al Horno, chicken so tender it melts in your mouth served with your choice of rice, beans and plantains. The Sandwich Cubano is another favorite. 400 Mendocino Avenue, 707-542-8868.
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Cubano sandwich at El Coqui in Santa Rosa. (Jeff Kan Lee)
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Fourth Street Market & Deli, Grab-and-Go: This friendly family-run business just off Courthouse Square is a popular lunch spot for downtown workers. Choose between a variety of sandwiches, or create your own; there are also pre-made salads, soup, Middle Eastern fare like tabbouleh, falafel and dolma and a weekly special. Favorites include the Falafel Wrap, which is big enough to last two lunches, the Middle Eastern Platter (with falafel, dolma, hummus, pita and lentil salad) and the Veggie Burger (add olives, avocado and mild peppers for extra flavor). 300 Mendocino Ave, 707-573-9832.
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Jackson's Bar and Oven, Take Your Team Out to Lunch Option 1: Did your team hit the quarterly goal, or are they just awesome people (or both), treat them to lunch at Jackson's Bar and Oven. One of the best burgers in Sonoma County and wood-fired pizzas like the House Made Sausage with tomato sauce, provolone, olives, goat horn peppers and oregano make for a good American-style celebration. Order some truffle fries for the table and you'll instantly become a little more popular. No-alcohol-during-work-hours policy? Make a toast with a glass of ginger lime fizz or a citrus mule. 135 4th St, Santa Rosa, 707-545-6900.
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Wood-fired pizza with house made sausage, tomato sauce, provolone, olives, goat horn peppers and oregano at Jackson's Bar and Oven in Santa Rosa. (Crista Jeremiason)
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Bird and The Bottle, Take Your Team Out to Lunch Option 2: If you have a really outstanding team, or you've been a tough boss (or both), make reservations at the Bird and The Bottle. Picking from the extensive menu of shareable dishes is a good exercise in team building (make note of the orders to make it easier for the restaurant staff). The fusion of Southern, East Coast, and Asian flavors, with Jewish comfort foods in the mix, may be a little scary-sounding to less adventurous team members — but there's B&B mini burgers and craft mac n’ cheese to satisfy picky eaters. Make sure to order the Crispy Brussel Sprouts. 1055 4th St., 707-568-4000.
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Street tacos at Bird and the Bottle in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)
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The Bird and the Bottle's Matzoh Ball Soup is a warming, comforting option for rainy day lunches or when you're under the weather. (Heather Irwin)
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Canevari's, Meat-Lovers' Sando Paradise: This no-frills Italian-American deli is the kind of spot Tony Soprano and his buddies would like if they lived in Santa Rosa. Order signature sandwiches for lunch, like the Meatball Sub, BBQ Tri Tip, and Spiced Pulled Pork and then cannoli for dessert. You might leave with slightly less healthy arteries, and cooking smells lingering in your hair and on your coat but it's totally worth it: this hidden gem is one of the best delis in Sonoma County. 695 Lewis Rd, 707-545-6941.
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Zoftig, Build-Your-Own Salad and More: "Zoftig" is the secret ingredient at this lunch hideaway. A Yiddish word that loosely translates into "fullness" (and, when referring to a woman's body, "a pleasantly plump figure"), at this Santa Rosa spot, it means succulent sandwiches, full-flavored salads and fresh-ingredient-packed bowls. Everything is made from scratch, and everything is good. We're particularly excited about the Roasted Chicken Sandwich on sourdough with sharp cheddar, Brussel sprouts slaw, green apples, toasted almonds, and Dijon mustard. 57 Montgomery Dr, 707-521-9554.
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Beets and greens salad with walnuts, pickled onions, black pepper buttermilk dressing at Zoftig in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)
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Zoftig's Korean Burrito with Marin Sun Farms ground beef marinated with soy, brown sugar, garlic and ginger, Korean BBQ sauce, avocado, mint cilantro, pickled daikon and carrot, organic brown rice, kimchi. (Chris Hardy)
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Ippinn Udon and Tempura, Under the Weather Food: This noodle shop, located across from the Santa Rosa JC, is a great lunch destination for poor students and workers on a budget. It's also a good spot when you're not feeling 100 percent. We're pretty sure that these udon bowls — curry, beef, chicken, tofu and more — have some magical properties. The tempura is good, too. 1880 Mendocino Avenue, 707-521-9911.
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El Roy's, Foodtruck Mexican Eats: Excellent burritos and street tacos in a hurry. Just make sure to bring a few extra napkins along to clean the al pastor sauce off your tie. 760 Sebastopol Rd., Santa Rosa., 707-843-2166.