We had dinner at both Punch Pizza and Pizza Nea on Hennipin this past Friday. This was our third trip to Punch, our second to this location. This was our first trip to Pizza Nea. We shared one pizza at each restaurant. You refill your own softdrinks at Punch. The service staff refills your drinks at Pizza Nea.
Punch again had an exceptionally friendly staff and great wood oven pizza. The soft drinks from the soda machine, it is hard not to refer to it as a Coke machine since I live south of New Orleans in Louisiana, at this location have been very flat each time we have been there. We are completely sold on Punch Pizza.
We walked over to Pizza Nea after sharing our pizza at Punch. Pizza Nea was a completely different experience. The service staff was in shambles when we arrived. We never saw a smile the entire time that we were there. Each server had a four table section. While we stood there leaning against the wall waiting for them to try and turn a table, one of the servers dropped a pizza right there in front of us. Sixty percent of the pizza fell from the serving plate and landed on a shelf where people put their coats and bags while eating. The server continued on and served the other food that she was carrying. No problem there until she came back, put the pizza back onto the serving plate, rearranged it to make it look as normal as she could and then she served it! That was fairly disgusting. We were seated after waiting for them to finally turn a table. We were completely forgotten as we sat there for over twenty minutes waiting on someone to greet us. When someone finally came and asked us if we had been greeted, they went into a several minute long tirade about how busy they were when we said no. They were not that busy. They were just taking a long time to turn the tables that were sitting there waiting on their servers to come take their payments. We finally had our order taken. One of us ordered a San Pellegrino which we later noticed had passed it's expiration date by eight months! The pizza finally arrived. They use a gas oven at Pizza Nea. The pizza crust was very tough and very rubbery. It was very bready and had no flavor. The toppings were mediocre. Our drinks were never refilled during our meal. We will not be back to Pizza Nea.
It seems that Punch Pizza is our choice in the Twin Cities due to their consistently good service and consistently good pizza.