A new pizza franchise that boasts fast cook times, personalized options and inexpensive pricing will open an Evanston storefront in January.
Blaze Pizza, which had its Evanston location approved by City Council on Monday, will take the former spot of U.S. Cellular at 1737 Sherman Ave. The restaurant currently has about 30 locations across the country and is expected to have about 50 by the end of the year, owner Adam Cummis said.
Founded about two years ago, the franchise makes all products in-house and offers about 40 different toppings. Customers can build their own pizza with unlimited toppings for less than $8, Cummis said. Each pizza cooks within three minutes, producing the food faster than many other similar restaurants, he added.
“A couple of the really big things that people get excited about is how quickly they can get their food because most times people order pizza, it takes 25 mins or as much as an hour if you’re ordering a Chicago-style pizza,” he said. “The fact that we can get you food so quickly … the value, people find incredible.”
Cummis said the franchise chose Evanston as its new location for a variety of reasons, noting that Elise Wetzel, one of the founders of Blaze Pizza, attended NU.
“It’s a nice culturally diverse neighborhood,” he said. “I also find Evanston to be really community-oriented, and we are very community-oriented as a company. We pride ourselves on giving back to the community and fundraising.”
In addition to serving food, the establishment looks to partner with local charitable groups. Cummis said a percentage of the restaurant’s proceeds are donated to various organizations, including local schools which are often in need of funding.
He said the franchise will likely pursue partnerships with schools within the Evanston area, but it will not begin its outreach until closer to the official opening.
He added that the franchise would also be interested in partnering with NU.
“We’d love to do whatever we can with Northwestern to partner and help to grow that university … and of course support the students,” he said.
Paul Zalmazek, the city’s senior economic development coordinator, said Blaze Pizza will be a good addition to the downtown Evanston area, noting that the restaurant’s unique idea, high quality ingredients and casual environment will appeal to both students and residents.
“It’s a new concept,” Zalmazek said. “I think it just adds another fun concept to downtown Evanston.”
Cummis said the restaurant has received positive support from the city and he is looking forward to its opening.
“We’ve gotten great feedback from the City Council and the people who work within the city,” he said. “They’re really excited about the concept coming and having a different offering of a food that everybody in America seems to love.”