High praise for Blaze, Lakeview’s new pizza joint

In Chicago, you can count on numerous restaurants to offer the classic deep-dish pizza. But let’s be real, with a busy college lifestyle, waiting around 45 minutes for a pan pizza doesn’t always cut it. The new Blaze Pizza location in Chicago offers quick, individual pizzas that can have you in and out the door in 10 minutes.

To put it simply, Blaze Pizza is one of a kind. There’s the option of signature pizzas or ‘build your own’ pizza where there’s the choice of unlimited toppings for the same price. Like a custom sub sandwich shop, the fresh ingredients are laid out as they craft the pizzas in front of the customers. The process is relatively swift because the thin-crust pizza only needs a few minutes in the oven to create the soft crust with crisp edges – and there’s even a gluten- free crust option.

The toppings list is quite extensive with every meat and vegetable imaginable. They offer unique cheese beyond the typical mozzarella, including goat, gorgonzola, ricotta and a vegan cheese. For those feeling adventurous, they also offer a spicy red sauce and white cream sauce instead of the traditional, red pizza sauce. Their version of a barbecue chicken pizza is classic but spot-on with a sweet barbecue sauce and fresh chicken that complete the pizza.

The price point is surprisingly reasonable, especially for a college student, with each pizza costing somewhere anywhere from $5 to $8. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. The quality of the crust is good, but nothing special. The workers were fast and friendly, which is all you need for a quick service food joint (even if they can’t spell your name right- it’s not ‘Grent’).

The interior has a rustic, industrial vibe with lots of seating and open windows to watch people buzzing by as they go to and from the ‘L’. Blaze’s only Chicago location is just north of campus directly off the Belmont CTA stop at the Belmont and Sheffield intersection.

For those who remember, this corner location at 953 W. Belmont Ave. used to be a clothing boutique store called ‘Nevermind.’ Due to the fire in 2012 that damaged many of the businesses on this block, it opened up room for Blaze to enter the Chicagoland area.

And thank goodness, because Blaze is a breath of fresh air. This individual pizza place will be a hit for those looking for a quick bite to eat on their way home from work or school, or even for a fun meal with friends on the weekend. Blaze Pizza’s Belmont location is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.