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Punch Bowl Social scores a KO for its scratch kitchen, craft cocktail bars, “eatertainment” in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood

Denver-based Punch Bowl Social swings open the doors to its 17th unit Saturday, a ginormous 24,000-square-foot restaurant, cocktail lounge and fun house deliberately designed to appeal to the Millennial crowd.

“We operate as a scratch kitchen and bar with really fun entertainment,” said Robert Thompson, the company’s founder and CEO, during a VIP tour earlier this week. “Millennials like experiences; they don’t just want a restaurant or a bar.”

And Thompson hopes this newest Punch Bowl, crowbarred into a converted two-story building on the western edge of Deep Ellum, is exactly what they want. In addition to several enormous cocktail bars, bowling alleys, rooftop patio, arcade games, dart boards, private karaoke rooms and themed “gathering areas,” Punch Bowl’s kitchen looks more than promising.

How do I know? I explored the entire kitchen, scoping out the pantry, the walk-in coolers, the cooking line, even the dry storage and dish pit. Just as the company’s chief f&b guy (and chef) Sheamus Feeley told me as we tasted a number of dishes, everything is cooked from scratch. (The walk-in cooler was chock full of hand-prepped ingredients, veggies pickling in Lexan containers, shelves filled with handsome fresh produce.)

Thompson and Feeley both say that despite the well-appointed decor and entertainment zones, the main focus of Punch Bowl is on food and craft beverages. That seems to be true.

The menu is broad but loaded up with fun foods created with fun in mind: chicken and waffles, crab rangoon nachos, a killer double-patty burger, keto-friendly chili and green chile pork, for example. And cocktails made with good booze, house-made infusions and freshly pressed juices -including its signature four-serving punch bowl, which can be ordered in alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions.

A second area Punch Bowl Social is slated to open in mid-July in Fort Worth’s West 7th development.

2600 Main St., Dallas.

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