Archer Rd. pizza served 'blazing fast'
It's hard to beat a personal 11" pizza for under $9, and certainly when that includes any and all of the toppings you want.
Blaze Pizza is a national fast food chain, a pizza joint similar in ordering style to Chipotle. This conveyor-belt ordering system allows you to customize from the base up. Then the pizza is "fast fire'd" for 180 seconds and served up hot. Located in the old Willy's spot on bustling Archer Rd. Blaze Pizza is laid out the same way that Willy's Merxican was, booths being in close proximity to the ordering line. According to the locations map on the BP website, there are over 20 in the continental U.S., and over 20 more are opening soon. That is a lot of fast and ready pizza!
How did I Blaze you might ask this Eating Advewnturer? I contemplated a Signature Pizza, such as the "Art Lover" with artichokes, mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, and red sauce dollops, but I knew I needed to do my Food Adventurer title justice.
I like my pizzas pretty loaded (image right), but this was on another level. First the dough (gluten free dough is available but is prepared on the same surface as gluten-filled dough) is pressed to size onto the pizza pan, my name (misspelled) written on the paper beneath. Then it's as if you were making the pizza yourself: Add sauce, cheese, meats, veggies that are applied after the pizza is baked. My selections were as follows: spicy red sauce, ovalini mozzarella, ricotta, applewood bacon, Italian sausage, artichokes, black olives, basil, jalapenos, and mushrooms, topped by arugula, an olive oil drizzle, oregano and sea salt. This may have been 14 components on one pizza, but there were so many other appetizing-sounding options also, including pesto, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, meatballs and BBQ sauce (note: not all on one pizza).
There is a complete Blaze Pizza menu at the link below.
As advertised, it took only a few minutes (180 seconds = 3 minutes, to be exact) for my pizza to cook. Even with the line of pizzas waiting to be quick-fired, it still only took about 5-7 minutes to receive my pizza. The pizza ordered by my dining companion, Holly (image right), came out as the antithesis to my heavily-topped pizza: A one-topping pizza with red sauce, shredded mozzarella and black olives (image above left). I joked that she was the "sane plain Jane to my adventurous weirdo self."
We dove right in, and I was happy with my combination. There was not a ton of each topping, so despite the variety, the thin crust did not wilt under the weight of the toppings. Everything tasted pretty fresh, but I probably should have opted for either the spicy red sauce OR the jalapenos. My mouth felt the heat immediately from the medium-hot sauce. I am not a big fan of the thin crust -- if a pizza joint serves deep dish I order it every time. Also, considering how quickly the crust is cooked and based on flavor, it was not a high-quality base. I was, however, pleased that my pizza seemed to be cooked evenly, a slight char underneath and on the top crust, but that was not the case for Holly's pizza. One side of her very simple pizza was charred, and the other side had a few seriously, almost doughy undercooked pieces. Her response: "I've had worse."
For a "personal" pizza, 11" seems quite large. Yes, it can easily be completely consumed, and Holly surprised me by doing just that, but I calculated my pizza nutrition info on www.blazepizza.com and my pizza racked up over 1400 calories. While it was worth one experience, you get what you pay for and I'd rather pay for tastier dining fare. Still, I am sure this convenience and price of Blaze Pizza will be well-received for some time.
The Pluses and Minuses of Blaze Pizza:
Blaze Pizza + indicators: A lot of pizza for a low price, unlimited toppings for no extra cost, fast-moving line, quick food preparation, taste ok
Blaze Pizza - Indicators: Not great quality, dough questionable, fast prep may result in undercooked pizza.
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- Phone Number: 352 377-6644
- Address: 3617 SW Archer Rd., Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Archer Road
- Web Site: Blaze
- Latitude: 29.621890
- Longitude: -82.377601
Ron Schmidt Thursday, 04 October 2012 11:55 Comment Link
I stopped there once and thought it was just another take on Moes and others. However, out of the utmost respect I have for one Jon Roosenraad and that i know that he does not give out the "epiphany" tag easily, I will give it another chance.
If you want good Mexican, go to Phoenix, San Antonio, or Denver (each has a different style). The Historic Boca Chica in St. Paul is also very good.
Lulu Wednesday, 07 December 2011 17:29 Comment Link
Jon I'm sorry you never tasted my cooking back when the Sovereign used to serve lunch. I made it my quest to educate the public as to authentic and regional foods, I taught Mexican cooking thru Santa Fe adult education courses from '89-91 @ GHS and I did turn out some fine cooks out of it. I think that what taco bell and El Paso have done is atrocious but hey, they are making the big bucks and all I'm left with is my dignity.
Pam H. Friday, 02 December 2011 11:51 Comment Link
I know where I'm gonna be goin' pretty soon....
Jon Rose Wednesday, 30 November 2011 08:40 Comment Link
Oh boy, another Mexican restaurant. All Mexican food tastes the same anyway.