Hops & shop: Suffolk Punch SouthPark


May 30, 2023

Suffolk Punch Brewing’s new SouthPark location is food-focused and family-friendly.

by Cathy Martin | photographs by Justin Driscoll

Millennials have flocked to Suffolk Punch since it opened in South End in 2017. The all-day café has a cozy, industrial-chic vibe, a solid brunch menu and a large patio for meetups with friends.

But hey, it turns out young professionals aren’t the only ones who enjoy noshing on chicken biscuits and truffle fries in a trendy, al fresco setting. Suffolk Punch Brewing’s second location at SouthPark Mall opened May 13. It’s a key component of the reimagined West Plaza area, which also includes a revamped children’s play area and a stage.

Left – Right: Japanese BBQ Tacos; the owners worked with Cluck Design, who designed the original Suffolk Punch, on the project. The restaurant seats 300 but can accommodate dozens more outside on the West Plaza, where there’s also a stage for live music.

The owners of the popular all-day café started mulling expansion after California Pizza Kitchen closed during the pandemic. “We have really good beer, we have really good food — it just seemed like a natural fit over here [in SouthPark],” says co-owner Dan Davis. “It’s kind of a paradigm shift … In South End, it’s young professionals, millennials. Whereas SouthPark is the whole gamut — it’s young professionals, older people with families and younger people with families.” The owners are also hoping to entice mall customers to stop in for a beer and a burger while shopping.  

The indoor-outdoor space spans more than 11,000 square feet and channels a similar modern-industrial aesthetic as its South End sibling, with concrete floors, wood accents and the same comfy, curved leather barstools as the original location. The bright, glass-enclosed beer garden feels like an oversized greenhouse, with rollup garage doors to bring the outdoors in. Three separate bars house nearly 60 taps for beer, seltzers, ciders and hard kombuchas, along with wine and craft cocktails.

“We’re a restaurant-driven brewery,” says Executive Chef Michael Rayfield, who joined Suffolk Punch about four years ago. “Everything is actually made in house here.” A larger staff — double the size of South End’s kitchen crew — allows Rayfield more freedom in the kitchen, where his team includes Executive Sous Chef Vince Giancarlo, formerly of The Jimmy and Zeppelin. “Everybody thinks breweries are just hot, gloomy and dull — we want to liven up the atmosphere, make it more of a family atmosphere,” Rayfield adds.

Left: SouthPark Hot Chicken Sandwich. Right: Ahi Tuna Nachos

Like in South End, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, and the menu boasts plenty of shareables. “It’s comfort food, but kind of upscale comfort food,” Davis says. Suffolk Punch’s popular brunch menu is offered here, along with a few signature items like the SPB burger. Other small plates, salads, flatbreads and entrees are unique to the SouthPark location.

When the Starbucks inside the mall closed, the Suffolk Punch team pivoted and transformed a space originally designed for private dining into a coffee bar. Adjacent to the main bar, the coffee bar can also be accessed through the food court and serves espresso drinks, nitro cold brew and draft lattes from HEX Coffee Roasters.

New dishes will hit the menu every six to seven weeks, when seasonal beers are released. Beer-pairing dinners are also on the horizon.

“We’re not going to let the brewers have all the fun,” Giancarlo says.  SP

Suffolk Punch is open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Sunday. thesuffolkpunch.com

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