Blaze Pizza so much, the company announced huge expansion plans for this year and beyond. It is, after all, founded by Rick and Elise Wetzel (of Wetzel's Pretzels) and backed by bigwigs like Maria Shriver, with chef Bradford Kent, who's wood-fired pies are near-perfect at Olio Pizzeria on West Third Street, as consulting chef. We gave the pies a test drive and found them to be perfectly decent for a $7 pizza; maybe not as slick as the Umami Group's 800 Degrees, but a step up in flavor from PizzaRev. According to the Wall Street Journal, Blaze expects to open more than 50 franchised units around the country, even in New York City, and in all major metro markets by 2014, with more than 20 new locations in the greater LA area over the next five years.
The first three locations will hit this summer: Come June, look for Blaze at the Rolling Hills Plaza in Torrance (2625 Pacific Coast Highway) and in the La Canada-Flintridge Town Center (990 Town Center Drive), and in Culver City (4114 Sepulveda Boulevard) in July. 800 Degrees is more of a slow-rise kind of pizza joint, having only one opening in Santa Monica this summer, with 10 more locations planned by the end of 2014. As noted before, Buffalo Wild Wings invested in PizzaRev, so we fully expect many more of those to pop up around the country too.