Blaze Pizza to open Evanston location Thursday


Adnaan Zaffer/Daily Senior Staffer

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, 1737 Sherman Ave., will open Thursday. The quick-service pizza restaurant uses a build-your-own, assembly-line format.

Tori Latham, Assistant City Editor

A new quick-service pizza restaurant will open in Evanston on Thursday, adding an additional pizza option to Sherman Avenue.

Blaze Pizza, 1737 Sherman Ave., uses a build-your-own, assembly-line format, which allows patrons to customize their pizzas with several different toppings and ingredients, including gluten-free dough and vegan cheese. Each pizza is cooked in only three minutes and costs less than $8.

“Blaze Pizza delivers a customized pizza experience with the artisanal quality that Chicagoans have come to expect, but now without the wait,” Larry Levy (Kellogg ’67), the founder of Levy Family Partners, the group developing Blaze Pizza in Chicago, said in a news release. “We believe this will be a game changer in town.”

The Evanston location will be the chain’s fifth in the Chicago area after Blaze Pizza first came to the city in December 2013. It initially launched in Irvine, California, in August 2012 and currently operates in 15 states, as well as Washington D.C.

To celebrate its Evanston opening, the restaurant will offer free build-your-own pizzas on Friday to anyone who follows Blaze Pizza on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Mark Muenzer, the city’s director of community development, told The Daily that Blaze Pizza is a good fit for Evanston because it introduces a new restaurant concept to the city.

“It’s gourmet food prepared quickly, and it’s something that we’ve seen has done well in other communities,” he said.

One of the co-founders, Elise Wetzel, graduated from Kellogg in 1992, which contributed to the chain choosing to expand to Evanston.

“Evanston holds a special place in my heart and I couldn’t be more excited for Blaze to be a part of this community,” Wetzel said in the news release. “The restaurant design incorporates touches of purple and white, proudly displaying our school pride.”

Paul Zalmezak, the city’s economic development coordinator, told The Daily he hopes the restaurant will specifically draw in people who might not have much time for lunch or dinner and are looking for a quick bite to eat.

“It is really good pizza, really fast, and I think that will appeal to workers as well as students,” he said. “Hopefully, it will pull more students to eat off campus and try out the space as well as the other retailers downtown.”

Zalmezak and Muenzer both also mentioned how Blaze is reoccupying a long-vacant space, which helps to bring more activity to the area.

“It really speaks to the fact that restaurants are choosing to open in Evanston,” Muenzer said. “We still want to reserve space for retail, but it’s good for the city.”

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