A growing California-based pizza chain whose investors include basketball star LeBron James and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner is opening its second Massachusetts location this Thursday. Blaze Pizza debuts at The Viridian luxury apartment building (1282 Boylston St.) near Fenway Park on September 29; the location seats 54 inside and 44 on the patio.
Any customer who stops by Blaze Fenway on opening day between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. and shows that he or she follows the restaurant on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook gets a whole free pizza.
Blaze’s shtick puts the "fast" in fast-casual — diners can customize their pizzas by choosing from a number of toppings, cheeses (including a vegan option), and sauces, and the thin-crust pizzas cook in 180 seconds. There’s a gluten-free dough available, but there isn’t a separate oven. In addition to pizzas, Blaze serves some salads and a s’mores pie for dessert.
On June 2, Blaze opened its first Massachusetts location at 1 Canal Park in Cambridge, between Lechmere Station and the Cambridgeside Galleria. Another location is slated to open later this fall in the CityPlace building (123 Stuart St.) near Emerson and the Boston Common. The Cambridge spot has been well-received in its early days, earning a four-and-a-half star average (out of five) over 60 Yelp reviews, with users praising the friendly service, good pizza, and affordable pricing.
Blaze, founded four years ago by Wetzel’s Pretzels co-founders Elise and Rick Wetzel, already has more than 150 locations in 31 states and Canada. The existing and forthcoming Massachusetts locations are owned by a franchising group called BGR Hospitality, which also appears to have plans to open locations in Rhode Island.