We have been looking for a good pizza ever since we came to East Tennessee. Unfortunately, although we’ve found eatable versions, our search for quality pizza has continued for more than 5 years!
So…when we heard about a new fast fired pizza restaurant in Knoxville from our friends Joel & Holly, we just had to give it a try.
This is Blaze Pizza. This company opened 50 restaurants across the country in 2014. In 2015, plans call for another 60 to 70 new locations. The company’s goat was to “build something with a modern twist that would resonate with millennials." Celebrities like LeBron James and Maria Shriver have invested in the brand, which is based in Southern California.
The chain's modern architecture was influenced by Chipotle. As you can see, this restaurant has a modern urban industrial feel with plenty of stainless steel and reclaimed wood. If you are looking for a warm and cozy pizza parlor or a place with a lot of character, this design or architectural ‘feel’ is not for you…
But in reality, doesn't it all comes down to the quality of the pizza?
Although Blaze Pizza offers 8 signature pizzas, the focus is on build your own ‘pie’! Like chain ‘restaurants’ such as Chipotle or Subway, Blaze Pizza emphasizes customization by its patrons. Customers build their pizzas by choosing from a selection of different cheeses, meats, vegetables and sauces.
Neither of us care for Chipotle or Subway so would we feel different about this concept?
Diners pass along a line of servers, selecting the ingredients for your pizza. These pizzas are large enough for 2 to share if you’re a light eater or the perfect size if you want to indulge a bit.
The servers on the prep line flatten out your ball of dough for the crust of your thin crust pizza. Then they add a little oil and your selection of sauce. Next you point out the ingredients you want. I chose pepperoni, Italian sausage, a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, sliced jalapeno, garlic and basil.
Laurie opted for the white cream sauce then she added mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, Italian sausage, pepperoni, olives, artichokes, garlic, pesto and basil. The servers/staff were very helpful and they’ve obviously been picked and trained to engage diners to give them a positive feeling about the restaurant.
Following the assembly of your pizzas, they go into the oven. As soon as they are done your name is called and you pick them up at the counter.
This is my pizza after it was fast-fired in the stone hearth oven. The total cooking time for a pizza is approximately a minute and a half and you have your food in about 3 minutes from the time ‘construction’ is complete!
While this wasn’t the best pizza ever, it was pretty good…as good as anything that we’ve had recently here in East Tennessee. One issue is that because there is no additional cost, it’s tempting to go overboard with the wide variety of ingredients. The next time I’m 'going basic', which will provide me with a better comparative evaluation. Mixing too many ingredients hampers one’s ability to evaluate the quality of each of them individually.
As you can see from this photo of Laurie’s finished pizza, she had it drizzled with pesto before it went into the oven. She really liked her pizza…and it was pretty too!
There was one key element to these pizzas that should be highlighted. The thin crust holds up very well. It’s crisp and it doesn’t collapse when you pick up a slice to eat it… These aren’t as good as pizzas we’ve had in Chicago, New York or Florida…but for East Tennessee, it’s pretty darn good!
What about cost? Each of these pizzas was only $7.65! The price was right… Blaze Pizza also serves beer, wine and soft drinks. Laurie’s Blue Moon and my Coors Light (bottles) were $4.00 each. Six salads are also offered ranging in cost from $3.85 to $6.85.
In Knoxville Tennessee Blaze Pizza is located in the Town and Country Commons Shopping area at 113 North Peters Road. It is readily visible from Kingston Pike/US Hwy. 11. Website: http://www.blazepizza.com/.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and checking out this new concept pizza restaurant!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave