Like many of my friends, a number of them lifelong Petalumans, I have driven by Traxx Bar & Grill a number of times, but never really thought to go there. That all changed in the past several weeks. Now it will become one of my go-to places for a great reasonably priced burger, or some excellently priced small plates to share, or not.
Chris Cheney has owned Traxx for about 15 years, and the team members there pride themselves on being a casual hometown respite amongst the more contemporary and expensive options just on the other side of the railroad tracks.
It is located right across the street from the downtown Petaluma SMART train station, which should make it popular with people coming to Petaluma from other towns up and down the line. Or if you plan to meet someone who is coming to our fair town on the train, this would be the perfect place to gather. There is plenty of free parking making it a stellar choice in our increasingly busy downtown core.
Once you arrive you will find two main rooms decorated with a huge collection of vintage road and advertising signs in between antique clocks. These are the real deal, not the faux kind you see in restaurants and bars that are trying toh hard to be casually down to earth. Keep an eye out for the ones that are cleverly positioned outside each restroom.
The restaurant is divided into two spaces, one for dining and one for drinking, although you can certainly do either or both in each room. You’ll find a fenced area for sitting outside at old-fashioned picnic tables.
In addition to a full bar, they have some good drafts ($5.75) available. We enjoyesd both the 805, a blond ale, and the Great White, a Belgium-style white beer from Lost Coast Brewery. They are available in two sizes. Be aware, the small is a pint and the large can only be described as huge.
Over the course of several visits we tried a number of dishes from their large selection labeled “small plates.” The grilled cheese bites ($7) were actually one grilled cheese sandwich cut into four triangles, like your mom might make them. However, this is not your mom’s grilled cheese, since it is filled with mozzarella and cheddar, pesto and fresh tomato slices, making it quite tasty.
The iceberg wedge ($6) was unexpectedly refined, since the lettuce was a finer quality than standard restaurant fare, more green than white and flavorful, like freshly picked lettuce should be. It was scattered with diced tomatoes, perfectly cooked pieces of bacon and offered with blue cheese. I asked for the blue cheese to be omitted, and instead topped the salad with blue cheese dressing. The dressing was tasty because it wasn’t overloaded with mayonnaise. I would go back to Traxx specifically for this salad.
The chicken quesadilla ($7) would make a whole meal for one person, but it was easily shareable and nicely seasoned as well. Freshly cut pico de gallo made for a refreshing finish.
The cheeseburger salad ($7) was a happy mess and huge. This would be the perfect dish for someone on a high protein, no carb diet, as it consisted of a large portion of chopped lettuce topped with a grilled hamburger, shredded cheddar cheese, grilled onions and tomatoes. The blue cheese dressing was so good on a prior visit, we ordered it again for this salad and we were not disappointed.