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Renaissance Review: Punch Bowl Social is good but could be great

By Arianna Smith Staff Writer

The Punch Bowl Social restaurant attracted quite a bit of attention when it opened up in Downtown Detroit. The vibe in the place is aimed at both teenagers and old souls, but since its grand opening not all of the attention has been positive.

“I had my 15th birthday there,” said sophomore Lakayla Patton. “It was all right, but it wasn’t the very best place I’ve ever been.”

Located at 1331 Broadway, Punch Bowl Social looks super flashy from the outside — at least until you see the enormous line that stretches around the front. Wait times for people who don’t call and reserve their tables early range from 20 minutes to a full hour on a busy night and even reserving doesn’t guarantee good spots.

“We called before going, but the man kept telling us that everything was booked already,” Patton said. “It was really irritating.”

Past the line, the restaurant looks like an amazing college dorm but better, featuring pool and ping pong tables, full bowling alleys, vintage arcade games and flat screens at the bar.

But more often than not the food doesn’t match up to the decorations. The vegetable macaroni was chilly and the famous “Punch Bowl” gimmick was mostly ice, and the extra long wait times turned anything crispy into soggy mush. The spotlight items on the menu are nice, but depending on when you visit half the restaurant might be closed off for “private parties.”

“The chicken and waffles were off the chain,” said freshman Jared Wick. “It was just a little too bougie for me, and we couldn’t bowl because other people held it up. And it was really crowded.”

Even though the experience could be improved, the restaurant’s long-awaited opening downtown is a good sign for the city of Detroit and shows that large businesses continue to move here while the city comes up.

The Stentor grants Punch Bowl Social three  out of five stars. Maybe once the hype dies down and the waiters get a little better at their jobs, it will live up to its expectations and become a true Motown favorite.

Review: Punch Bowl Social

The Stentor grants Punch Bowl Social three out of five stars.


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