Punch Pizza – the best worst place in St. Paul

(Note from Knox: I received two very nice and apologetic notes from managers at Punch Pizza with gift cards attached. They wanted to apologize for my bad experience and I am happy to see that restaurants care about their visitors. Sarah and I have already used one card and had A VERY NICE experience. I still have one more gift card to use. After going the second time, I will write a different post.  I’m keeping this post up so that any reader will know what to expect as far as the seeting arrangement and to know how the system works on a busy night).

punch Last night, my lovely, Sarah, and I went to Punch Pizza for my birthday. It was my birthday yesterday – I’m 23 now.

The food was amazing! We ordered a Bruni pizza (sausage, spiced salami, onion, oregano) and a chopped Italian salad with a Summit Red Ale and a mediocre cup of red wine.

The food came quickly and we tried to eat slowly to enjoy the meal.

For the food itself, I’d give Punch top marks.

For EVERYTHING else we dealt with, I’m probably going to spit on the on the place every time I walk by it from now on.

Walking inside Punch is like walking into a Chipotle or Five Guys, there are people everywhere and it’s noisy. I give major props to both of those places over Punch because I actually enjoy eating there. I am never going to eat at Punch again; take out, maybe, but not inside.

We walked inside and took a gander at the crowd. We were standing in line when we saw a table open up, “thank God,” we thought. I jumped towards it and sat down to ensure our seating for dinner. Two minutes later, some floor manager guy walked over and kicked me out of the table; there are some seating rules apparently. I was annoyed, but they have a system, I suppose I can respect that without being TOO perturbed. Then we sat and waited for our number, 82, to be called (by the same guy). After calling 82, he hurried off to a large table in the middle of the place – I refuse to call this a restaurant. I looked around to find two other tables open, one was even a booth. But instead of taking us to one of those, he still went with the giant table. This table is one you’d imagine in a pub in some bad fantasy movie – long, wooden, bench-style. He sat us here, saying, “one on either side.”

Seriously?

Sitting in between people we don’t know, bumping their elbows with our own, more than a full arm’s stretch away, Sarah sat across from me mirroring my look of disgust and annoyance. I had to basically lie across the table like a bored 3rd grader to talk with her; in doing so, I drew a few looks from the people around us, but didn’t care because I wasn’t going to let the atmosphere COMPLETELY ruin my time with her.

Not long after being seated, our food arrived and we had to go get our own silverware, plates, napkins, etc. Again, the food was really, really good, but we had to focus on it to enjoy it.

Then, get this, halfway through our meal, the same balding floor manager approached us, touched my shoulder and asked us to move over so he could make room for more people.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m sorry, you want us to do what? Even after you kicked me out of a table and then sat us at this giant wooden log between strangers, you want us to move?  Being the polite, Christian kids we are, we moved down, only managing nasty looks. Then two minutes later, he came back and told us to move the other way because the hole we had already made wasn’t good enough where it was. By this time, other pairs of people had joined us and were equally frustrated. This whole act pissed me off and I started shooting my mouth off to Sarah about the guy’s dickheadedness, how rude he was, “this giant *f-bombing* table”, etc. Sarah tried quieting me because the guy was just behind me. Bless her soul, it didn’t work. I hoped he could hear what I was saying. We finished eating, got up and left. On our way out, with me still complaining, we walked past the guy again.  Our eyes met and he didn’t say goodbye like he had just done with the past four couples walking out.

I’m still fuming about that place. I even got on Google to read other reviews. Like us, everyone loved the food. They recommend, however, “don’t go to the Punch on Grand Ave.” Apparently this location sucks and treats people like cattle more than the other sites.

Maybe someday, when I don’t feel as offended and angry, I will give Punch another try at a different location. Maybe.

(Please notice I didn’t link to Punch at all in this post, but linked to several other places instead)

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