We were recently invited to the media preview of Blaze Pizza. A California-based franchise. We typically don’t review chains, but franchises are a bit different as they have deep local connections. Mike Forte from Knoxville is the Operating Partner for the restaurant and will also oversee the day-to-day management. All hands were on deck when we entered and everyone was eager to please. Blaze offers a selection of crusts to choose from, then pick your sauce and choose from over 40 toppings. There’s something for everyone. After that, it’s ran through the Blaze-ing hot pizza oven and they call your name. My pizza and soft drink was $10.50 with tax. A good value and an incredibly tasty pizza. We stayed pretty basic with our selections. (Sorry for the poor photos, I left my SD card at home so my DSLR was useless.) The crust is thin and crunchy, ingredients were very fresh, and staff extremely friendly as you would expect. It’s definitely worth a try and tomorrow, Friday November 21st is FREE PIZZA DAY. No strings attached, just go in and get your free pizza! What better way to give the new guys a try than with a free sample!

IMG_6005 IMG_6007 IMG_6010 IMG_6012 IMG_6013

Here’s the official press release:

Knoxville Blaze Pizza Open for Business!
Fast-Casual, Build-Your-Own Pizza Concept Opens at Town and Country Commons
KNOXVILLE – Cold temperatures may be sweeping in, but Knoxville is a-blaze with FREE pizza to celebrate the opening of Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a new-fast casual pizza concept.

Blaze Pizza today announced the opening of its first store in Knoxville, located in Town and Country Commons, at the corner of Kingston Pike and Peters (113 North Peters Road), near Jason’s Deli, Panera Bread and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The company is offering FREE build-your-own artisanal pizzas tomorrow, November 21, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. to anyone who follows Blaze Pizza on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

How does Blaze bring the heat to the Knoxville food scene? Customers are invited to create their own artisanal pizzas on an interactive assembly line format, choosing from both classic and inventive ingredients including house-made sauces, fresh vegetables and hand-selected meats and cheeses – all for under $8. Dedicated pizzasmiths then ensure the 11” thin-crust pies are “fast-fire’d” and cooked to perfection in under 180 seconds in Blaze’s signature open-flame oven.

“Knoxville is ready for a shake-up when it comes to convenient, healthy and delicious pizza,” said Mike Forte, Knoxville resident and Blaze Operating Partner in Tennessee. “We’re bringing back the classic ‘pizza joint’ with a modern, fresh, and fast twist. Blaze has all the options Knoxville’s pizza lovers want, but without the wait,”

Blaze Pizza makes its own dough from scratch using a recipe developed by critically-acclaimed Executive Chef Brad Kent (“The Pizza Whisperer”), which requires a 24-hour fermentation period to produce his signature light-as-air, crisp crust.  The new 80-seat restaurant also offers gluten-free and vegan options, as well as an assortment of wines and craft beers.

The Knoxville Blaze Pizza is operated by The Millennial Restaurant Group, which plans to develop restaurants in Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida. The partnership consists of James Patterson Sr., Jim Patterson II, Ulysses (Junior) Bridgeman, Wayne Albritton and Collins Cogan.

About Blaze Pizza
The first Blaze Pizza® restaurant opened on August 6, 2012 in Irvine, CA, and quickly gained attention for its chef-driven recipes and “build-your-own pizza” assembly-line format.  Described by Zagat as “One of 10 Innovative Restaurants in Los Angeles,” Blaze Pizza is developing a cult following as it expands across the U.S.  The company currently operates restaurants in 12 states and the District of Columbia, including the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C.   Founded by Elise and Rick Wetzel (co-founder of Wetzel’s Pretzels), the concept is backed by investors including LeBron James and Maria Shriver. For more information, please visit and