Windsor’s first Blaze Pizza draws crowds
Free offer sees almost 1,000 pies flying out door of California chain’s diner
Salivating Windsorites ate for free Friday at a new south Windsor pizza joint.
Blaze Pizza, a California-based chain, celebrated the opening of its 650 Division Road location by offering free pizza to anyone who followed its social media accounts. In 11 hours, almost 1,000 freebie pies flew out the door. “We’ve got great-looking pizzas going out, and our staff are getting plenty of practice,” said Jason Huang, director of training for the franchise group in charge of Windsor’s location, just south of Devonshire Mall. Modelled after the fast, casual restaurant style of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Blaze Pizza lets customers choose from various sauces, toppings and cheeses, and to then have the pizza built right in front of them. The “fast-fire’d,” open-flame oven cooks the pies in about three minutes.
“We do want to change the way people think about and eat pizza,” Huang said. He added the customizable options, quick cooking time, and fresh dough made in-house set Blaze apart.
About a dozen of Blaze’s 50 employees worked at lightning speed behind the counter during Friday’s launch to keep up with an ever-growing line of customers. Several rolled dough non-stop, while others spread sauce and placed toppings. The single baker shouted “hot!” each time he slid a pizza from the oven onto a board for his colleagues to slice into six even pieces. Another employee balanced a stack of 20 empty pizza boxes in his arms, ready to replenish the dwindling supply up front. In addition to the create-yourown pizza choices, the restaurant provides single- and doubletopping options, as well as eight signature recipes created by the company’s executive chef. “We are very happy to be here,” Huang said. “We’re glad to be part of the community, and we want to help grow the community and see this business thrive and the businesses around us thrive. We’re here, we aren’t going anywhere, and hopefully people come by and try our pizza.” Customers filled out their orders on small menu sheets while they waited to avoid backups, keeping the line of about 30 people in constant motion. Every minute or so, another person walked out the door with a big grin and a pizza box. There are about 300 Blaze Pizzas in operation. Currently, the restaurant serves Canada, the U.S., Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
General manager Faiz Sheikh proudly displays two signature pizzas at Blaze Pizza on Friday when it was offering free pizza to anyone who visited the new Division Road location.