There are plenty of great pizza places in the Twin Cities, but Punch will always have a special place in my heart. Now with eight locations across the metro, their first location, which opened back in 1996 in St. Paul’s Highland Park, is my favorite. Co-founders John Soranno, who grew up in Milan, and John Puckett, one of the founders of the regional chain Caribou Coffee, hit the jackpot when they introduced their stellar Neapolitan-style pizzas to the nearly pie-deprived Twin Cities residents. The one size 10-inch pizzas are topped with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella and tons of other fantastic ingredients, then fired in a wood-burning oven at 800 degrees for 90 to 120 seconds—the perfect amount of time to get that great blistery crust.
While I love all the pizzas, I’m partial to the Toto, topped with arugula, prosciutto, goat cheese, cracked red pepper and garlic, and the Salame e Funghi, with salami, mushroom, garlic, fontina and oregano. Order it uncut if you’re a fan of folding your pizza like a New Yorker, or Doppio-style, with extra San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil and extra mozzarella di bufala.
For more information and Punch Pizza locations visit punchpizza.com.
Photographs by Linda Soranno.