I don’t know how many pizza joints I’d call “casually hip,” but after visiting Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza yesterday, I know of at least one. In fact, Blaze Pizza may actually have achieved cult status, as one of the fastest expanding restaurants in the country. Founded by the Wetzel’s Pretzel family and backed by LeBron James and Maria Shriver, it’s no surprise Blaze Pizza wanted to open in sunny Sarasota.
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, the nation’s leading build-your-own pizza, just opened their doors across from the new UTC mall at 215 North Cattlemen Road (that’s on the Super-Target-side-of-the-road!) We were invited to the soft opening/media day, and we couldn’t resist checking out this innovative way to enjoy one of the most beloved foods on the planet.
I would describe Blaze Pizza as “fast-casual with a laser focus” and my takeaway from our visit, aside from the to-go box of pizza that I took home because I couldn’t finish it in one sitting, is that this is a uniquely positioned restaurant that will blaze even more trails into South Florida.
The concept is simple, brilliant, and referenced in their name: Fast-Fire’d. After all, that’s what an 800F gas-fired hearth, 180 seconds, and super fresh ingredients will do for pizza.
Here’s our “Eater’s Digest” scoop on Blaze Pizza: ALL the pies are 11″ and served on a thin crust, our absolute must-have crust. The secret is Blaze Pizza’s made from scratch dough that results in a light-as-air, crisp crust that stands up to the blazing hot, open-flame oven. They also have a gluten-free dough and vegan cheese for those on strict diets.
Unlike other pizza restaurants, Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza features an interactive assembly-line of enthusiastic, energetic staff, happy to help you build your ideal pizza. All the vegetables, meats, cheeses and sauces you could possibly hope for are showcased on a long, spotless prep table offering over 30 topping, so you can see how perfectly fresh they are!
You can order a one topping pizza, a build-your-own pizza, or order one of their eight signature artisanal pizzas, which in my case was the “Green Stripe” – pesto drizzle over grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, chopped garlic, mozzarella, and fresh arugula.
The best part? Any and all combination of toppings will never set you back more than $7.95! Once the hard part of choosing ingredients is done, you’ll be sitting at your table inside or al fresco on the outside patio and biting into your piping hot pizza in about 3 minutes!
My Green Stripe pie was absolutely light crispy, and I’ll go ahead and say it – downright healthy tasting.
Jill also gravitated to a signature pizza, the “BBQ Chkn”, with its grilled chicken, mozzarella, red onion, banana peppers, gorgonzola and barbecue sauce drizzle. While watching her toppings being lavished on her pizza, she was seduced by the power of bacon, and asked that bacon be added to the signature ingredients. Which lead us to another cool fact about Blaze Pizza. Want something added or taken off the signature pizza? No problem! Not only did she add bacon, but also a second helping of gorgonzola cheese, with no additional charges to the bill.
We also opted for a Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, foolishly thinking we could finish two pizzas and still have room for salad. But wouldn’t you be tempted as well? Seriously. . . how do beets, goat cheese, almonds, arugula, and a tangy house vinaigrette for $3.85 sound? I know, right? The salads are stocked in a cooler by the cash register, and believe me when I say this . . . looks are deceiving. In addition to taking home half of her pizza, Jill took home the rest of her salad – which was so large it covered an entire dinner plate!
If you are pining for an adult beverage to wash all this deliciousness down, there are a limited selection of wine and beers, as well as soft drinks, tea and lemonade.
Dessert? Yeah, they’ve got you covered with a yummy S’more Pie!
The verdict then? Family friendly, budget-friendly, clean, high energy, and delicious Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is blazing a new trail into Sarasota, and we couldn’t be happier to try it!