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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza Featured

Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza

Archer Rd. pizza served 'blazing fast'

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

BLAZEsfIt'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.

MKblaze3As 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."

MKblazeOVENFor 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 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.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Blaze Pizza Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!

Fresh ingredients, choices make this lunch stop worth noting


By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor


All right, I’ll be honest with you.  I have been thinking about the new Wily’s Mexicana Grill on SW Archer Rd. all week knowing I was going to make a visit sooner, rather than later.  My thought was get in there before the crowds show up and make this place way too busy for a downtown gringo like me. 


Plus I really wanted to see the Wily’s salsa bar and exactly how good their green sauce tastes.  GLOB staffer Lynn Dirk is my usual partner for these Mexican lunch stop visits.  Lynn couldn’t make it today so my plan was to pick up a burrito on the way out for Ms. Dirk.


The Wily’s menu is impressive.  Like the other, ‘have it your way burrito shops.’ Wily’s has an impressive menu of burritos and taco choices.  This Mexicana Grill also includes a very tasty looking quesadillas and a yummy looking, ample size order of Nacho’s.   There are several “charges for additional ingredients’ on the menu so I’m not really sure how the Wily’s prices compare with the Mexican food outlets. 


My suggestion is you check the Wily’s menu out on the restaurant link below this feature before you head out into the Archer Rd. 85 lane quagmire for lunch.   Ok. So there isn’t 85 lanes of traffic, how many do you think exist out there counting turning lanes, no right turn lanes, left only lanes . . .?


I do know that the Wily’s food service lunch line was fast, friendly, and very generous in helping make my lunch time choices. 


Of course I was thinking taco from the get go, and I like the idea of walking through the food line asking for a little bit of this, and a little bit of that to be added to my lunch.  They have a soup and taco combo special that I selected and I added a scoop of guacamole to the soup that made my lunch a little over $7.


The Spicy tortilla and chicken soup was perfect for chilly mid-day Thursday lunch. The addition of a dollop of sour cream and strips of fried tortilla chips made for a very fiesta like dance on my palette. 


The Wily’s taco was very good.  Of course I put way too many ingredients in my taco shell.  Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do.  The corn salsa, quacamole, peppers & onions, lettuce cheese, pico de gallo, roasted red peppers, and jalepeno peppers sure fit very nicely above the adobe chicken cooked in roasted ancho peppers, and smoked chipotle peppers. (Thank you Mother Lupita for supplying the Wily’s menu online for this taco inventory.)


Wily’s sells beer and has a nice setup in the dining area for watching sports and generally hanging out.  There is also patio seating available for people like the Catering Queen Jules Gollner that takes her best friend Rusty the Wonder Dog out to lunch. 


Talk about retro cutting edge it is a worth a trip to Wily’s just to check out the Coco-Cola fountain machine in the photo at right.  This deco like design houses twenty different drinking options!  Carumba!!!


Like you I am interested in what Staffer Captain Dirk has to say about her lunch time burrito

This was a good lunch.  I can see myself visiting Wily’s every chance I get when I am in the Archer Rd. restaurant triangle.


The Pluses and Minuses of Wily’s Mexicana Grill:


Wily’s ( +) indicators: Fresh ingredients, good Mexican seasonings, customer friendly portions, way cool soda machine.


Willy’s ( - ) indicators:  Maybe Wily’s will make me an Archer Rd. lunch kinda guy . . .   How do we keep the I-75 lunch carpet baggers from knowing we have a Wily’s?



Last modified onThursday, 21 May 2020 05:32

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: 352 377-6644
  • Address: 3617 SW Archer Rd., Gainesville, FL
  • Urban GLOB Location: Archer Road
  • Latitude: 29.621890
  • Longitude: -82.377601


  • Ron Schmidt
    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
    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.
    Pam H. Friday, 02 December 2011 11:51 Comment Link

    I know where I'm gonna be goin' pretty soon....

  • Jon Rose
    Jon Rose Wednesday, 30 November 2011 08:40 Comment Link

    Oh boy, another Mexican restaurant. All Mexican food tastes the same anyway.

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