By Allison Myers
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is a new fast-casual, design-your-own pizza store opening in Louisville (near Trader Joe’s) today. On Friday, I went to a meet & greet to get a sneak peek into the newest addition to the Louisville pizza scene.
Originating from California, Blaze Pizza takes the same assembly line approach of Chipotle or Subway. Blaze fast-fires its personal-sized, 11-inch pizzas in a blazing hot open-hearth oven so pies are done in just under 3 minutes. I love the idea — a fast, quality pizza made in front of you with fresh ingredients. Pizza starts at $5 for cheese and just under $8 for their specialty pies.
You walk in and are quickly greeted with a few shouts of “Welcome to Blaze!” which is a similar greeting you get at Moe’s Southwest Grill. But there's something almost annoying in the cheerfulness in Blaze's pizza-smiths. Nevertheless, they were kind and helpful when explaining the ordering process and helping you build the perfect artisanal pizza.
The inside reminded me of a Chipotle — modern, industrial and clean.
To build your own pie, you start with the crust that’s pressed out when you place your order. The crust is fresh house-made dough that’s made from scratch in a 24-hour fermentation process. There’s a gluten free option, too. Your meat and cheese options are applewood bacon, grilled chicken, Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami, crumbled meatballs, gorgonzola, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta and vegan cheese. Sauce choices are tangy classic red tomato sauce, spicy red tomato sauce, white cream sauce, pesto and barbecue. Veggies include olives, jalapeños, banana peppers, artichokes, pineapple, tomatoes, arugula, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, red onions and basil.
Being the want-to-be chef that I am, I had to build my own. I ordered the gluten free crust with the spicy tomato sauce topped with chicken, bacon, mushrooms, bell peppers and basil. And under three minutes my pizza was ready for consumption. It was fresh and had a great flavors. The spicy tomato sauce had a great warmth to it with just the right amount of kick. Be warned it is spicy. The gluten free crust was a bit on the limp side but tasted great. Overall, I was very impressed with my first artisan pizza made in 180 seconds.
Don’t want to build your pie? Blaze offers a variety of signature pizzas to pick from and you can add or subtract any ingredient. The signature styles range from the Meat Eater, with pepperoni, crumbled meatballs, red onion, mozzarella and red sauce, to the Veg Out, with zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella, crumbled gorgonzola and dollops of red sauce. The BBQ Chicken will become a customer favorite for those looking for a little more creativity in their pies.
My friend ordered The Green Stripe. It’s one of the most popular pies with chunks of grilled chicken with mozzarella, red peppers and chopped garlic. What makes it so good are the finishing touches after it’s removed from the oven. Delicious, tangy pesto is drizzled all over and topped off with arugula. The Green Stripe is the perfect example of a quick gourmet pizza. We both enjoyed it.
The Red Vine may be my favorite Blaze pizza. The pie is deliciously topped with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, garlic, basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Pops of flavor fill your mouth as you bite down into the crispy crust. It’s beautiful and delicious. I could eat it every day.
After test tasting many of the signature pizzas, what I love the most is the crust. It’s light. It’s crispy. It’s the perfect compromise between thick and thin. And you don’t have that heavy feeling pizza can give you because the crust is so light. It’s excellent.
Have a sweet tooth? I highly recommend the s’more pie. It’s a crisp, graham cracker cookie with marshmallow and chocolate inside. It’s heated in the pizza oven for ooey, gooey goodness. Pro-tip: Don’t order it with your pizza. Order it afterwards so it’s nice and hot when you’re ready to eat it.
You can get salads at Blaze, too. I tried the beet & goat cheese and it was fresh and good. And the blood-orange lemonade is a fun drink choice.
Wayne Albritton, Blaze Louisville’s Managing Partner, told me why Blaze Pizza stands out in a very competitive pizza market. He explained you get a different pizza and a different experience. A different pizza because Blaze Pizza is chef driven. Chef Brad Kent also known as “The Pizza Whisperer” creates all the recipes from the dough to the sauces. And on the different experience he said, “If you think about it, there really hasn’t been a good way to enjoy a quality pizza without the wait. Now there is.”
Go fire up a pizza at Blaze. Please let me know about your favorite creation or signature pie by placing a comment below.
Blaze Pizza is located at 4600 Shelbyville Rd. Louisville, KY 40207. The Louisville Blaze Pizza will be operated by The Millennial Restaurant Group, which plans on developing restaurants in Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida. The partnership consists of James Patterson Sr, Jim Patterson II, Ulysses (Junior) Bridgeman, Wayne Albritton and Collins Cogan. The partners have decades of owning and operating numerous successful restaurants in the Louisville and Kentucky markets.