Blaze Pizza, a California-based, build-your-own pizza chain that boasts basketball star LeBron James as an investor, will become one of the area's newest fast-casual entries when it opens its first Colorado Springs location Thursday.
The restaurant will occupy a 2,450-square-foot space, with additional patio seating, at the Powers Pointe retail center, southwest of Powers Boulevard and Barnes Road. It will be Blaze Pizza's second Colorado location; a Broomfield store opened last year.
Blaze, a 5-year-old chain, bills itself as "a modern day pizza joint." Its menu includes several signature cheese, meat and veggie pizzas, as well as a build-your-own option in which customers choose their toppings. Pizzas are baked in open-flame ovens and ready in about three minutes. The menu also includes salads, drinks and desserts.
The chain touts fresh and health-conscious ingredients. Restaurants make their own dough from scratch using a special recipe, while pizza and salad ingredients are free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. Restaurants also offer gluten-free dough and vegan cheese.
"By making dough in house, carefully sourcing ingredients, and cooking by fire, we're giving guests a great way to enjoy artisanal pizza without the wait," Jim Mizes, Blaze Pizza's president and CEO, said in a statement.
Thursday's opening will be followed by a next-day giveaway; Blaze will offer free pizzas from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday for anyone who follows the restaurant on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
Blaze has more than 225 restaurants in 35 states and Canada. It was founded by Rick Wetzel, the co-founder of Wetzel's Pretzels. The concept, according to the chain, is backed by Los Angeles-based private equity firm Brentwood Associates.
Its founding investors include James, who also owns franchises in Chicago and Miami Beach, Mizes recently told a national business publication. Other investors include newswoman Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.
In addition to Blaze Pizza, Powers Pointe is home to fast-casual chains Tokyo Joe's and Zoes Kitchen and traditional sit-down restaurant LongHorn Steakhouse.
The Melt, another California-based fast-casual restaurant planned at Powers Pointe, no longer is coming, however. The chain closed its five Colorado restaurants a few months ago and the chain's CEO said locations in the state didn't pan out, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
Powers Pointe also is home to Sprouts Farmers Market, discount retailer Tuesday Morning, pet store Bentley's Pet Stuff and Cricket Wireless.
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