I need to start this post with a couple disclaimers: this is my first entry about a place that I didn't visit firsthand, so it won't be completely thorough. Further, this pizza, like myself, is from Minnesota, so it goes without saying that it is awesome.
The first of six Punch locations was established on Cleveland Ave. in St. Paul, MN by John Soranno. Yes, this Punch Pizzeria is located on West Lake St. near Lake Calhoun in what one would a 'strip mall,' but it's about what's inside that counts, isn't it?
There it is. The famous VPN plaque. What's the VPN? The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana is an Italian group founded in the 1980's designed to preserve the traditional Neapolitan pizza by granting membership to only the most authentic American and Canadian Neapolitan-style pizzerias. There are only 29 different pizzerias in the U.S. that can claim membership. Punch is one of them.
I'm in love(n). Just to give you some scale on how huge this thing is-
My parents, or should I say field reporters, ordered a Margherita D.O.C. (w/ buffalo mozzarella).
While I can't say how good it tasted, I was told by Pops that "it was one of the best pizzas I've ever had." Based on the picture alone I'd say this pie puts up a good fight with a lot of the Neapolitan pizzas New York has to offer. Looks like the VPN credentials look legit.
I'm *this* close to buying a plane ticket to Minneapolis just to get my hands on one of these. I can almost taste the charred cornicione and smell the basil. The only complaint I heard was how wet the center of the pie was.
Yeah. That's definitely some liqui-cheese finding it's way off of a slice. Fork and knife time I suppose (to be fair, they were outside of New York city limits; totally acceptable). The pizza looks incredible.
If this isn't enough proof that Minnesota has more to offer than lutefisk, check out Aaron Landry's Minnesota Pizza Blog. You're darn tootin'!