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Working Lunch: Punk's Backyard Grill

Oct 05, 2010 06:50PM ● By Anonymous


How we got there: Punk's Backyard Grill can be found along Bestgate Road between Macy's and Lord & Taylor. There is only an exterior entrance to the restaurant. When we walked in, we were amazed by the decor of the restaurant. 

What we ordered: We pondered over the menu for a few minutes. It was a tough choice, even though the menu is mostly barbecue-inspired menu items, along with a few salads. Emily chose the barbecue chicken skewers ($8.79), while I went for a classic pulled pork sandwich ($6.49). We decided to split the large macaroni and cheese ($3.59), because 1) it sounded good, and 2) my sandwich didn't come with any sides. 

The restaurant had a great selection of wine and beer. Clearly not appropriate for a working lunch, but a good thing to remember for the future. Instead, I got a soda and was really surprised when the fountain machine didn't offer Pepsi OR Coke products. It was Boylan's sodas, the explanation for which can be found on Punks' website:

"With artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup sweeteners—and a list of chemical additives almost as long as the can—these products wouldn’t stand up very well to our fresh, honest food. Instead, we choose to serve Boylan’s® vintage all-natural sodas."

We took a seat at a picnic table under a large tree and admired the exposed brick walls, the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking outdoor seating, and the high ceilings that made the restaurant feel so airy. Our food quickly came, and we turned our attention to eating. Here's what Emily had to say about her meal:

"My lunch at Punk’s Backyard Grill was satisfying. I ordered the chicken skewers, and debated getting a side but went with the salad and flatbread that came with it. When my food arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the salad- more than enough for one person. Perhaps that served to compensate for the chicken; I expected three or four skewers’ worth and was served two. The chicken was perfectly cooked, it pulled right off the skewers. The barbeque sauce was sweet and tangy, just what I’d expect, although it was plated slightly chilled, which caught me off guard. The tanginess of the barbeque sauce was the perfect complement to the acidity of the vinaigrette on the salad; I thought the two paired very well together. And the flatbread was warm and chewy and well-seasoned, not dry and flavorless as many flatbreads are."

We split the macaroni and cheese, which was a good idea because the portion was huge. It was a good side dish for my pulled pork sandwich, which was tasty. I only wish that I could taste more of the coleslaw that was on top of the pork, as it was one of the main reasons I ordered the sandwich. 

What we paid: The total for our two meals and a soda was $22. Not too shabby!

The verdict: The atmosphere was what really makes Punk's worth going to (though the food certainly doesn't hurt!) It is certainly a better alternative than the mall's food court, and I could even imagine meeting a friend there after working for a short dinner and a glass or wine or a beer before doing some light shopping. 

-- Food editor Kelsey Collins