A Guide to Lunch Break Success


James Hunter

During lunch at Novato High, there are many great local spots that students can drive or hitch a ride to get some food before the rest of their day. Some of these include longtime lunch spots like Italian Delite, Redwood Bagel, Chipotle and Safeway, while others stay closer to the school by heading to Jesus Pizza or the Loop. Although many of these spots will make for a great lunch that could leave you asleep for fifth period, there are dozens of spots surrounding Novato that are just a short trip away. 

Although getting out of town for lunch may sound great on paper, it takes some thought and maybe even a little planning to pull it off and make it back on time. The thirty-five allotted minutes for lunch only adds to the challenge. 

The initial factors a student has to think about is the teacher they have and where they are before and after lunch. A teacher that makes sure you’re on time will surely get the trip off to a rough start. The classroom close to the parking lot can be crucial as it can cut the time getting to the car in half. 

During the trip, you’ll make better time if you’re able to catch all the green lights you can on the way to the highway, as well as arriving into the spot. Once on the highway, a good pace in the fast lane will yield both the most fun and the fastest time. Make sure to drive safely as well as keeping an eye peeled for the CHP officers that like to hide in the shade.

As you’re getting to the restaurant, some places will present you with the options of going in or using the drive thru. As long as the drive thru isn’t packed, it’s always the way to go to get back on time. If the restaurant accepts online or phone orders, be sure to take advantage of it. Skipping the line can make up half the time on a lunch period, so if you’re able to get in and out fast, then you can get much farther. If the restaurant has neither, it’ll make for a much harder time getting back and forth. On the way back, most of the same factors that affected you on the way out will affect you on the way back. 

If you’re the driver, it might seem hard to find time to actually eat your lunch. Eating and driving can work for some foods, but others need a more stable place to eat. This is best found in some spare minutes in the parking lot as a result of an efficient trip or a fifth period teacher who lets you eat your meal during class. 

Now, the only thing missing seems to be where to actually go for lunch. Here are a few of the best spots I’ve visited around Novato and why they’re my favorites. 

Michael’s Sourdough- Bel Marin Keys

Although the closest to NHS out of the group, Michael’s Sourdough is a great option for somebody who might be missing Perry’s Deli a little more than the rest of us. With over 20 predesignated options on the menu, anybody who likes a good sandwich will surely love Michael’s Sourdough. The trip to the Bel Marin Keys location shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, so getting back with time to spare should be easy as long as the line’s short. If you’re feeling extra organized, Michael’s Sourdough does accept phone-in orders that allow you to skip the main line. Without a phone order, students will be late if the line reaches the door, as it often does during some lunch rushes. The Roast Beef on Rye is one of their best options for somebody looking for a recommendation. 

A&W- San Rafael

Despite the distance, A&W is still a relatively easy option for people who are getting tired of the Habit and In-N-Out Burger. The home of root beer in the USA is a good but pricey option for a “fast food” restaurant, and no trip is complete without either a classic root beer float or freeze. The rest of the menu includes various types of hamburgers and cheeseburgers as well as chicken strips and sandwiches. A&W is also one of the few fast food locations offering hot dogs and corn dogs. The drive down and back generally requires more speed as it could end up taking 20 minutes each way, leaving you walking in 15 minutes late. 

Buffalo Wild Wings- Petaluma

Buffalo Wild Wings is a restaurant that is great to call in an order and get back on time. You could either order online or call in. The food consists of just about anything you want from salads to their wings, which are by far the best item they have. A quick trip up Highway 101 and back makes the trip extremely easy if you can get it done in good time. There usually is no traffic around that time of day and it is a good trip to bring a full car of friends to. 

Shake Shack- Larkspur

Shake Shack is the newest and farthest destination on the list and can often be tricky to get there and back on time. Aside from the time challenge, it has some of the best food, as any of their menu options can be extremely good. The drive down Highway 101 is simple, but the Sir Francis Drake exit in Larkspur can end up taking 10 minutes, so hope you can get through there quickly. Other than that, traffic can be heavy depending on the day but it can be a fun spot for somebody who might have a really nice fifth period teacher.