Punch Pizza has been brought up quite a bit in recent posts, and there seems to be a growing trend of negativity. Since my experiences with Punch -- the original location in St. Paul -- have been consistent (and very good) over many years, I've tried to figure out what's going on.
I would imagine some of the negativity is generated by the growth in number and locations of places doing very good Neapolitan or Neapolitan-style pizzas (which, to me is a great thing). In other cases, it may be that the new, no sit-down service branches of Punch don't measure up to the original (to which I heartily agree, and wish they would quit bastardizing the original). And, as always has been the case, some of the negativity is simply people who don't like Neapolitan pizza, including it's slightly black charred crust and lack of gloppy Chef Boyardee sauce, cheddar cheese and Jimmy Dean sausage crumbles.
That said, the original St. Paul Punch location in my opinion is still a great chowhound spot, especially when you consider what you get for a $10-15 total proposition. I've always enthusiastically introduced this place to locals and out-of-towners alike with great success. Fresh high-quality ingredients, enough options to please anybody (meaning safe if you have vegetarians or non-chowhounds along), bright interesting atmosphere, enthusiastic staff and in a lively centrally located neighborhood. I have a hard time thinking of too many places that deliver all of that casually and at an equally accessible price point.
I don't know really what's inspiring me to send up this post, but it seems like a lot of times lately I've seen negative comments about a place I like and have wanted to impose some kind of chowhound rule that people specify which location they're bashing or wanted to jump in with "yeah, but was it the St. Paul location???" on every thread. Well...whatever it is, hopefully hitting "Post New Topic" will make it all go away.
Punch Pizza (the good one)
704 Cleveland Ave S (at Highland Pkwy)