Blaze Pizza, or “how I was suckered into eating at a chain pizzeria before I was ready to” – The Maestro’s Take

This week we went to Blaze Pizza on Belmont (which I wrongly and weirdly assumed was spelled “Blay’s”). I guess I thought it was a Chicago chain, but 2 seconds of research have revealed it to be a MASSIVE FREAKING NATIONAL CHAIN. We will get to national chains, I just feel a little punked that we got to one way before we intended. Despite the title, I can’t tell you why, other than we need better research over here at the Maestro & Doc’s fly-by-night pizza blog.

Since it’s a national chain, I’ll have no problem ripping it up, but there were definitely some good things about it.

First the good:

It’s fast. They bill themselves as fast food pizza. And they mean it. The layout is not unlike Subway. First you select your dough, then you select your spices, then sauces, then cheese, then toppings, then more toppings, then more spices, etc. Your dough is being passed down along an assembly line of people in poly food service gloves, all the while you’re able to see the ingredients behind a little tilted glass covering. Not unlike a salad bar. At the end of your pizza’s journey they pop it in the oven. It takes about 5 minutes to cook.

It’s pretty darned cheap. They don’t offer slices (I don’t think) so you get a whole pie. And one can easily do a whole pie.

The bad:

It’s fast food pizza. The ingredients are not the freshest. The temptation to put everything you like on a pizza is very great. But unless you really know what you’re doing (hint: I do not really know what I’m doing), it’s best to stick to their “signature” pies. Those are probably lab and focus group-tested favorites that aren’t too off the beaten path. Most people (present company included) do not know enough about the ingredients to “make your own.” So if you stray too far you’re going to get a monstrosity. I basically did the classic with pepperoni.

That’s about it. If you’re in the Belmont/Clark neighborhood and you are in a hurry, you could do worse than Blaze.

We are gearing up to do a major Harlem Ave. Pizza slice Crawl this afternoon. I haven’t really eaten.

I am starving for pizza.

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