The California-based Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza chain will open its first Alabama location on Thursday, Feb. 15, in The Waites retail and residential development on Birmingham’s Southside.
The 2,800-square-foot, open-kitchen restaurant is at 707 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. South and will offer seating for 68 diners inside, as well as an exterior patio.
To celebrate Thursday’s opening, anyone who visits the new Birmingham location between 10:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. that day and follows Blaze Pizza on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook will receive a free build-your-own pizza, according to a media release from the company.
“Our mission at Blaze is really simple – we’re taking pizza back to its roots,” Jim Mizes, president and CEO of Blaze Pizza, said in a statement. “By making dough in-house, using carefully sourced ingredients, and cooking by fire, we’re giving guests a great way to enjoy artisanal pizza without the wait. It’s changing the way people think about and eat pizza.”
Among the signature pizzas are the Meat Eater (with pepperoni and crumbled meatballs), the Art Lover (with artichokes and chopped garlic) and the Veg Out (with zucchini, mushrooms and red onion). Guests may also create their own pizza from a variety of meats, veggies, cheeses and sauces. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available. The price is about $8 for an 11-inch pizza.
The menu also features fresh salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies.
Greg Hazard, the local Blaze Pizza franchisee, said the restaurant hopes to build a strong relationship with neighboring UAB, including hosting a fundraiser with UAB’s Inter-Fraternity Council.
“We are very excited to be bringing the Blaze Pizza brand to Birmingham and specifically to the UAB Blazers,” Hazard said. “We love their slogan of ‘Forever Blaze,’ and we are committed to living up to that challenge.
“This is our first location in Alabama, and we are thrilled to announce our second location will be in Tuscaloosa this summer,” he added. “Come on out and try us and see what we are bringing to the great state of Alabama, where the Tide rolls and the Dragon breathes fire — just like our oven.”
The first Blaze Pizza opened in August 2012 in Irvine, Calif., and the chain has since grown to include more than 245 locations in 35 states and Canada.
The concept was developed by Elise and Rick Wetzel, who co-founded the Wetzel’s Pretzels chain. NBA superstar LeBron James is among the founding investors, along with journalist Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner.
The $16.5-million Waites development, which opened last year, is located on the same site as the former Waite’s Fine Foods, a bakery and deli that was a Birmingham favorite from 1923 until it closed in 1988.
In addition to Blaze Pizza, other tenants include Taco Mama, Club Pilates, Farm Burger, Smoothie King, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, and Roll Up, a sushi restaurant. The development also includes 45 apartment units.