Photo courtesy of Coleman Communications
Photo courtesy of Coleman Communications

By Michael P Coleman

Punch Bowl Social’s tag line is “Here’s To Going Out Right.”  Whoever came up with that one deserves a raise. 

I’d stumbled past the place in downtown Sacramento a dozen or so times, usually rushing to the Amtrak Station or to Golden 1 Center, before recently stopping in for some weekend grub.  As great as their menu is, Punch Bowl Social offers so much more. 

punch bowl social small
Photo courtesy of Coleman Communications

On the Saturday night we stopped in, the place was packed with diners and those looking for the widest variety of arcade and board games I’ve seen outside of a now-defunct Toys R Us.  If you’ve got a full evening planned after dinner, make sure you leave plenty of time for Punch Bowl Social, or you may miss your event! 

The decor is described as “dirty modern,” which is an apt description that, I’ll admit, eluded me as I tried to figure it all out.  But then, my cognitive abilities were a bit impaired after a few sips of the Featured Punch, It’s one of four on the menu, including The Watermelon Polo Bowl, It’s A Mer-Man’s World, and The King’s Cup.  Punch Bowl Social’s punches are available in single servings or bowls for four or eight. 

A word of caution: those hand-crafted cocktails are called “punch” for a reason, as they certainly pack one.  If you plan to really lean back and enjoy a couple, make sure you have a designated driver.  Your server will bring you samples of all four, so you can choose the right one for your palate or meal.  

So let’s get to that meal:  we started with the Roasted Chicken Quesadilla.  It’s huge, delicious, and packed with yard bird, Monterey Jack cheese, Serrano chiles, corn, tomato, and pickled red onion, with a dash of cilantro. But what really set that sandwich off was the accompanying salsa adobo, which also served as a perfect dipping sauce for the tasty french fries.

My relationship with chicken is real and deep, so I sampled the A La Bama Chicken Sandwich.  That ample breast was perfectly fried, and its flavor was enhanced by the house dill pickle.  Don’t be scared off by the white BBQ sauce, as its perfectly acceptable — delicious, actually — for people of color.

But baby, I am here to tell you about The Wolf!  That sandwich took me back to a time and a place where my dad fried bologna and onion in the kitchen for a sandwich that has lingered in my memory for decades.  Punch Bowl Social’s version includes a healthy slice of beef bologna on Texas Toast, with shredded lettuce, dijonaise, sea salt chips (on the sandwich!!), and hot, gooey American cheese.  If that cheese isn’t Velvetta, it just ought to be.  Our server advised that The Wolf was a big one, possibly a bit too much with the appetizer and drinks, but you know your boy MPC found a way! 

Just like I’ll find my way back to Punch Bowl Social very soon.  Some diners have experienced some service issues, but GM Omar Cortez is working hard to develop a team that exceeds guests’ expectations.  Saturday night, they knocked it out of the park. 

Punch Bowl Social is located at 500 J Street in Sacramento.  Check the place out at, or holla’ at them (that’s from their site! LOL) at 916-925-5610.

Mike Coleman headshotonly nologo 300Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or click here to follow him on Twitter. 

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