It's time we get rid of the old donut-cop cliche. It's pretty obvious that they're now all Punky's junkies—on my visit, one sat in the place and five more groups of men-in-uniform rolled in. Is there a police station nearby?
"Nope," says Punky, real name Vincent Scarlata. "They just know we've got generous portions with affordable prices. More people walk out of here with leftovers than not."
So we put it to the test: Two hungry college boys and one girl versus a $15 large sausage pizza. We won, but just barely. Punky's pizza pulled out all the stops—sausage so fresh we could taste the herbs, tomato sauce so flavorful we licked our fingers and, my personal favorite, crust so fluffy that there was no burnt crunch and dry chewiness.
It's easy to see why Punky says so many city workers drop by for a bite. Besides the low prices, Punky's serves pasta, salads and a huge selection of sandwiches, the favorite being the eight-ounce char grilled chicken with roasted peppers on ciabatta for $7.35. And if you thought there were no more frozen bananas left after Taste of Chicago, stop by Punky's for the icy treat. Most people order delivery or carry out, but with a large screen TV and plenty of tables, the straightforward dining room provides a laid-back place to chow.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Steph Yiu