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Friday, May 1, 2015

In DIY Food News: Blaze Pizza Is (Finally) in San Francisco

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 11:01 AM

click to enlarge From L-R: a build it yourself pizza with spicy red sauce and a white pie - BETTY WANG
  • Betty Wang
  • From L-R: a build it yourself pizza with spicy red sauce and a white pie

San Francisco's very first Blaze Pizza is in the Stonestown Galleria, where the former Williams Sonoma used to be. While we have a number of places for one to design one's own sandwiches (Subway, or any neighborhood Safeway deli), burritos (Blaze is being touted as the "Chipotle of pizzas"),  for some reason, fast food renditions of DIY pizza are actually a little more sparse than the aforementioned items.

click to enlarge BETTY WANG
  • Betty Wang
For those unfamiliar with this type of eatery — for pizza, think Pieology or Pizza Studio — what is its deal, exactly? Blaze is pretty much what you'd imagine it to be. You start out at the beginning of the line with the option of ordering one of their nine signature pies (ranging from barbecue chicken to a white pie). But the better option for anyone who loved do-it-yourself sundae bars as kids — and let's be real, who wasn't? — you can build your own pizza.

Go down the line, choosing a sauce (red, spicy red, white, a BBQ drizzle, and more), cheeses (vegan cheese is also available, at an additional cost), meats, and veggies. There are almost 30 topping options total. Once you're done with that, your pizza is popped into an open-flame oven for 180 seconds. I also asked for a (free) side of ranch for dipping because . . . ranch.

I tried two pizzas, one of the signatures (Blaze's white pie with a cream sauce, mozzarella, applewood bacon, chopped garlic, oregano, and arugula), and for the other, built my own: spicy red sauce, mozzarella, salami, mushrooms, and olives. The spicy red sauce was robust and actually packed a little bit of heat, while the white pie had a tasty cream sauce that paired well with the savory bacon and herb-y, refreshing arugula. Both came on a deliciously chewy thin crust that's made in-house.

click to enlarge BETTY WANG
  • Betty Wang
They also offer the option of online orders, meaning you can design your pizza with a few clicks (or taps on your phone), pay through your device, and they'll have a pre-cooked pizza ready to be fired up when you show. Alongside the pies, there are a few grab-and-go side salads, a s'mores cookie sandwich, and a soda fountain where I spotted blood orange lemonade.

The toppings are all fresh, and the workers are all incredibly friendly. So unless you've decided to concoct some heinous combination that renders your pie inedible, your Blaze experience will be relatively satisfying. Just don't go overboard on the toppings, as the pie is only cooked for a short amount of time and with an already thin crust, overload will likely result in sogginess. As an avid pizza eater who loves it in all forms, from the artisan-fancy-restaurant Beretta to the can-hardly-be-construed-as-actual-pizza frozen Totino's, Blaze is certainly a welcome addition in my book. It's also located in one of the few spots in San Francisco where parking is more reliable. Also, at around $9 for a whole, reasonably-sized pizza, it's no wonder the place was packed to the brim when I was there on a random weeknight.

Welcome to the 415 — and, I guess, the 628 — Blaze!

Blaze Pizza, Stonestown Galleria, 3251 20th Ave., 415-212-6282.

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Betty Wang


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