Innovative takeout food comes to Cotati
Gourmet take-out sandwiches and entrees make Ruthy’s Real Meals a welcome local eatery
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By Jud Snyder  August 22, 2014 12:00 am

Oh sure! You can always drive up to Burger King or Jack-In-The-Box and get a sack of burger and fries. Or, to upscale it a bit, pick up a few take-out cartons of chow mein and noodles at an Oriental restaurant. 

But what if you crave an order of Baby Back Ribs, or Fish Fillet with Saffron and Pine Nuts, or Roasted Vegetable Enchilada or Barbecued Tofu and Tempeh with Balsamic Vinegar? Now we’re really talking upscale. And we’re talking about Ruthy’s Real Meals and the culinary talents of Ruth Lefkowitz, owner, designer and master chef of this innovative takeout restaurant in Cotati.


Menu changes every week

“Our food is mostly organic, including ground beef, and I rely heavily on local farmers, organic gardeners, poultry and cheese sources. Only our steaks are not organic but they come from grass-fed cows,” she said. “Our menu changes every week so it probably produces quite a few surprises each time you come.”

A sample takeout menu lists sandwiches with modest titles, like meatloaf, chicken salad, turkey and cheese, and BLT. But they’re handcrafted and with such modest titles, it’s like hanging a “fur coat” label on a full-length ermine coat. Entrees on a sample takeout menu include Grilled Steak with Melon Salsa, Spaghetti with Roasted Eggplant and Vegetarian Mushroom and Pecan Burger. They’re all upscale but the costs are not. Sandwiches are $7.50 and entrees are $9 to $15 for large single portions and more for multiple containers. For people who are curious about what Ruthy’s Real Meals is all about, walk-ins are always welcome. There are even a few tables inside and out for those who can’t wait to tackle their sandwich or entrée. 


Home deliveries are popular

“People call or come in wanting something they can take home in their car that’s not too messy,” said Ruth. “Our refrigerators are filled with entrees ready to go when people drop by. We also do home deliveries if people call in a day ahead of time. I also have four full or part time employees helping me out plus a driver who has almost a fulltime job making deliveries.”

Ruthy’s talents have been channeled by Food for Thought, the group supplying HIV and AIDS patients with meals and medical assistance. “For six years I voluntarily catered their picnic for employees,” she noted. Her wall has a special “thank you” certificate from Food for Thought. 

“We’ve been in this new location only since March 1st of this year,” she said. “Before this I was working for about 10 years out of Pasta Sonoma kitchens on Martin Avenue. Now I have my own place and it’s getting pretty busy. I look out my window at the vacant Star restaurant across Gravenstein and wonder to myself if maybe some day I could …? But not yet, I’m busy now.”

Ruthy’s Real Meals is in the shopping center on Gravenstein Highway where Johnny’s Java and Cotati’s Park ‘n Ride is located. Phone number is 888-0128 or Born in Scranton, Penn., she grew up in Philadelphia, majored in horticulture at Temple University, moved to Berkeley, got a BA at Sonoma State University, then an MA in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at SSU. Married, then divorced, the 59-year old Ruth Lefkowitz is also a certified Pastry Chef. We talked while enjoying a cup of coffee and a slice of Peach chiffon cake she just made. On the table was a box of orange and red heirloom tomatoes just delivered by Volkerts Ranch in Hessel.

“I always make sure I have the best in local and organic food for my kitchens in the back,” she said.

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