Words by: Chazré A. Hill
The power of social media: On Nov. 18, one post on the Instagram of Blaze Pizza indicating that the Magnolia Drive location is giving away free 11-inch pizzas to customers until 9 PM, sparked a line wrapped around the establishment.
Rick and Elise Wetzel, who simply wanted to be able to have pizza for lunch, founded Blaze Pizza in 2012. Blaze prides themselves on having quality ingredients that are vegan and gluten friendly, and producing fresh, hot pizza in 180 seconds.
Not only were there hungry college students in the line, there were families of four and even groups of businessmen on their lunch break. A Blaze Pizza, manager supplying ink stamp on everyone’s hand, greeted customers “There will be about an hour wait.” The news discouraged a few, but as the line moved swiftly, it eased others like myself.
I sat down in a table facing a window shining in natural light. Despite the long line, there were more than enough tables to accommodate couples or groups. The levels of the tables enhanced the aesthetic of the restaurant. It offered variety to the dining area. Patrons can choose between a high top, booth or a small table.
The first bite was everything that pizza is supposed to be. It was fresh, cheesy and balanced. By balanced, I mean that the pepperoni, bacon and onions were not over powered by the pungent ovalini mozzarella cheese. The pizza was like a movie: everyone played their part. The tomato sauce, one that you can tell is not canned, is sweet and flavorful. The tomato sauce was chunky enough to be rustic but not so much that it gets overwhelming.
Think of Blaze Pizza like chipotle or subway, but for pizza. You are greeted with an employee who asks for your name to ensure that your experience is as personable as possible.
For $7.95, you can build your own pizza with unlimited toppings. The clear glass reveals fresh ingredients like shredded cheese, meat and vegetables. This is your pizza and you have free reign over it. The raw pizza is then transported to a “pizza-smith” that places it in an oven for 2-3 minutes.
“Our oven dome temperature can reach upward of 900F, while the floor temperature typically ranges from 600F to 800F. It’s skilled work,” Blaze Pizza website says.
Boy, does that skilled work show. Your pizza arrives bubbly and brown with just the right amount of crispiness. Customers can even finish their pizza with olive oil or barbecue sauce, and then cut in six slices.
Halfway through my pizza, I am in a trance. No one is there, just me and my personal pizza in bliss. I am immediately snapped out by multiple employees asking me about my pizza.
“How does it taste? Do you like it? Can I get rid of something for you?” were all questions asked by three to four different Blaze workers. It was warming to see how caring and helpful each employee was. I was even invited into a staff selfie to celebrate the grand opening! It is evident that interaction is what Blaze is all about.
I enjoyed my entire visit at Blaze pizza. The freedom to be creative with my food was what one of the most rewarding parts of my visit, especially seeing quality ingredients at my disposal. I adored the décor, which was open and spacious. Most of all, the staff were attentivr and quick. The ordering process took about a total of 5 minutes. Each staff member addressed you by name, which was what sold me the most. Blaze Pizza will definitely see me again.
220 S. Magnolia
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Hours: 11:30AM – 10PM