Say what you will about them but I have seen a rise in the fast casual restaurant model in the past few years. In the Bay Area, this replaces some of the fast food chains that were once popular. Not everyone can afford the time and money to feed their families daily on bar bites, craft brews, and entrees made from locally sourced ingredients served at the kind of restaurants I usually review but they do still want a good night out. Once in a while I like to remind myself that the fast casual - cheap, quick, tasty - is an important option to have.
NorCal's latest branch of the national pizza chain, Blaze Pizza, just opened a location in Fremont. The concept is much like a Chipotle with pizzas. You customize your own pizza using the ingredients they have available. Last week, I was invited to the complimentary preview event at Blaze to try their pizzas.
You order while going down the row of employees manning stations with various toppings.
First, you choose your pizza crust, there's standard thin crust and gluten free options.
Second, choose your sauce(s).
Third, choose your cheese(s).
Fourth, choose your unlimited topping(s).
Then the pizza goes into the oven for 180 seconds and it's ready! I asked one of the managers if the speed is in the way the oven is built and was surprised to find that it's actually in the recipe dough that the crust can cook so fast.
($7.95) I was making a margherita with artichokes and roasted garlic. Very satisfied with my choices. Perfect portion size for one + a slice or two leftover.
My friend got a half and half because she couldn't decide on the sauces. Right side has white cream sauce (yum!), left side as spicy red sauce (yum but not as yum).
Phil made his own version of pepperoni and sausage with spicy red sauce.
($3.95) They also passed out salads. I chose the caprese themed salad with mozzarella, greens, and cherry tomatoes with a balsamic glaze.
Build your own pizzas and signature pizzas are $7.95. You can get a one topping for $6.25 or a simple pie for $5. Salads are about $3.95 and dessert for $2. They also serve some beer in store.
I really liked the quick, efficient service, and the pizzas were great! If I lived or worked closer to Fremont, I'd stop by Blaze more often. Sadly, I'm not but any of you readers who are in the area have lucked out - I'm giving away two coupons for a free pizza each. I'm only choosing one winner so that winner gets 2 free pizzas. This is a flash contest and will only be up for 24 hours before I draw a winner. I don't care if only one person enters, that person gets the prize! Enter using this Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!