From burgers to individualized pizzas prepared in three minutes, 1708 N. High St. is a space in the midst of transformation near Ohio State’s campus.
After Red Robin’s Burger Works closed in October, it was announced that Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza will be taking its place in January, said Jim Mizes, Blaze’s president and chief operating officer.
OSU has been on the target college town list for Blaze locations since the company started, Mizes said. He compared the style of Blaze Pizza to Chipotle Mexican Grill.
“Three minutes,” he said. “You can now have a high-quality, artisan-style pizza, customized to the individual in just three minutes.”
Blaze Pizza is similar to Chipotle in that customers go down a line and pick which toppings they want, he said. Individuals also have the option of choosing from one of Blaze’s nine signature pizzas, including “Meat Eater” and “Veg Out.”
The restaurant offers gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options as well.
“What this enables is pizza for lunch,” Mizes said. “And you’re getting a $12 to $15 pizza for $7.”
Customers will also be able to choose from a variety of side salads — priced between $3 and $6 — or a S’more Pie for dessert, which is $2.
Derick Moseley, a fifth-year in civil engineering, said he’s excited about Blaze’s opening.
“Blaze sounds great,” Moseley said. “It’s finally a place that cooks pizza quick, opposed to the usual half an hour wait. Plus it’s cheap, which is always a plus on campus.”
Anneka Hokanson, a fifth-year in communication, agreed.
“I’m really excited about Blaze because of its convenience,” she said. “And everyone loves pizza.”
With regards to the restaurant’s opening in January, Mizes said Blaze Pizza has big plans in store. Blaze will be giving free pizzas away to those who “like” Blaze Pizza’s Facebook page and then are willing to wait in line.
As for the pizza place’s atmosphere, Mizes said it’s important to allow Blaze employees and customers to express their individuality.
“We want everyone to be free to be themselves,” he said. “Additionally, every restaurant has slightly different decor, depending on where it’s located.”
The decor for Columbus’ location, however, is a “surprise,” Mizes said.
The Pasadena, Calif.-based concept opened its doors first in August 2012. Currently, there are 38 open restaurants across the country, and the company has a goal of reaching 50 by the end of the year, Mizes said.
“Blaze can really change the way people think about pizza,” he said. “We now make pizza available at all times of day, not just dinner. It changes the way people in the world consume pizza.”