SOURCE: Blaze Pizza

Blaze Pizza

December 19, 2013 08:00 ET

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza & Levy Family Partners Announce Grand Opening of First Chicago Location

Free Build-Your-Own Pizzas on Friday, December 20 at the New Belmont Avenue Blaze Pizza

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 19, 2013) - Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza today announced that it will open its first Chicago location at 953 W. Belmont Avenue on Thursday, December 19. To celebrate the grand opening, Blaze Pizza will offer FREE build-your-own artisanal pizzas to its Facebook fans on Friday, December 20 from 10 am until midnight. The new fast casual restaurant is located between Sheffield and Clark, directly adjacent to the Belmont L. 

Blaze Pizza uses an interactive assembly line format (similar to Chipotle® Mexican Grill) that allows guests to create their own custom artisanal pizzas at lightning fast speed -- each for around $7.00. Every Blaze Pizza restaurant makes its own dough from scratch using a recipe that requires a 24-hour fermentation period to produce its signature light-as-air, crisp crust. Guests watch as each perfectly proofed dough ball is pressed into a generous 11-inch crust. Next, they travel down the service line to "co-create" a signature pizza or design one of their own -- choosing from over 40 fresh-made sauces, hand-selected veggies and a variety of artisanal meats and cheeses. Pizzas are "fast-fire'd" in a blazing-hot oven and ready in a scant 180 seconds. Blaze Pizza's menu also features signature salads, fresh lemonades, craft beer & wine and house-made S'more Pies. For pizza fans with specific dietary needs, Blaze Pizza offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese. The restaurant also offers online ordering.

"Chicagoans love pizza, but they really don't have a good way to enjoy a quality pie without the wait," said Brad Kent, Executive Chef of Blaze Pizza. "Blaze Pizza is all about letting folks enjoy custom-built artisanal pizzas at freakishly fast speed. It's a concept I'm thrilled to lend my expertise to."

Blaze Pizza is looking forward to building strong roots with members of the local community. To that end, the company has developed a turn-key in-restaurant fundraiser program that returns 20% of an event's proceeds back to local organizations, and hopes to partner with local schools, sports clubs and other local organizations to host fundraising events at the new restaurant.

Blaze Pizza is being developed in the Chicago area by Levy Family Partners under a 15-store franchise development agreement. Levy Family Partners was established by entrepreneur Larry Levy, founder and chairman of Levy Restaurants, as the holding company for his family's investments in restaurants, hotels, real estate and other ventures. Two other Blaze Pizza restaurants are currently in development at 555 W. Madison Street (at Presidential Towers) and 227 E. Ontario Street (between Lake Shore and Michigan Avenue).

About Blaze Pizza

It started with the simple idea of making a great artisanal pizza -- custom built-to-order and served freakishly fast -- for about seven dollars. Our inspiration grew out of frustration when we couldn't find a good fast pizza for lunch. We knew that if we could execute on this simple idea, we could sell a lot of pizza. Through collaboration with Executive Chef Brad Kent, we created a signature "light-as-air crispy crust" that could be pressed fresh for each guest. Then we designed an interactive assembly-line format where guests could customize their own pizzas with fresh-made sauces, hand-selected veggies and a variety of artisanal meats and cheeses. To create Blaze's "casually hip" store design, we brought in Ana Henton of MASS Architecture. Henton adds individualized design notes to each new restaurant space -- making each location as custom-built as the pizzas it serves. From a simple idea now brought to life, Blaze Pizza has become a budding restaurant chain where individual locations can serve upwards of 800 to 1,000 built-to-order artisanal pizzas on a busy day.

A creation of Elise and Rick Wetzel (co-founder of Wetzel's Pretzels), the concept is backed by investors including Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner, and includes the talents of highly acclaimed Executive Chef Bradford Kent. Blaze Pizza's seasoned executive team brings fast-casual and quick-serve restaurant experience from numerous concepts including Buffalo Wild Wings, Freebirds World Burrito, California Pizza Kitchen, Panda Express, Jamba Juice and Carl's Jr. The company, which has been featured by CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Good Morning America Live, is the leader of the rapidly emerging fast-casual pizza category. Nationwide expansion is underway with a development pipeline of 239 franchise stores in 19 states and Washington DC.

For more information, please visit www.blazepizza.com or www.facebook.com/blazepizza.

Blaze Pizza, LLC 
35 N. Lake Ave, Suite 710 
Pasadena, CA 91101