Last week, the social media bandwagon in Sugar Land was buzzing about the Blaze Pizza opening. To get people talking about its new shop, Blaze was offering an incredible deal: Free pizza all day on July 31.
We arrived a day late, not for the free pizza but to experience something that we had first encountered in Culver City, California (the chain is based out of Southern California): A build-your-own thin-crust pizza with unlimited toppings for one price. If you think it sounds like Chipotle, that’s definitely the model the Blaze owners were looking to emulate. Founded by the owners of Wetzel’s Pretzels, they wanted to fill a hole in the pizza market with a fast-casual, fresh concept that would appeal to those wanting a semi-gourmet grab-n-go experience.
It’s a concept that’s being embraced around the country. Last year, Blaze Pizza opened 50 restaurants across the United States. This year, the expansion is continuing at breakneck speed. The Houston franchise alone will result in ten Blaze Pizza locations across the Houston metropolitan area, with the first opening in Sugar Land.
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So, what can you expect? Painted in orange and gray, the clean, modern space in Sugar Land is pretty spiffy. Just inside the door, a large, Texas-shaped work of art made of pizza peels acts as the centerpiece on the right wall. Patrons line up along this wall as they make their way down the build-your-own pizza line, selecting the type of pizza dough, sauce, cheese and toppings as they go.
My pizza went a little bit like this: Regular crust, regular tomato sauce (they offer white, spicy or red), ovalini mozzarella, bacon, salami, pepperoni, Italian meatball, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, spinach, mushroom and fresh basil. Even though it sounds like a lot, the staff did a good job of arranging the toppings so that the pizza wasn't too weighed down. There were plenty more options from which to choose, ranging from pineapple to grilled chicken, to roasted red peppers and artichokes, so it's easy to go a little crazy.
At the end of the line, you are asked if you’d like to add a drink to your order. And that’s it. A totally satisfying, oven-baked thin-crust pizza in under ten minutes for $7.65 plus tax. Single-topping pizzas ring in at just $6.25, and if you go for basic cheese, the price drops to $5 a pie. Salads to accompany the meal start at $3.99. Service was friendly and we were greeted with plenty of smiles. There’s also a very nice deck in the back of the restaurant, and it’s family friendly. Next up will be a location on Westheimer near Gessner, slated to open late September.