Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday & Saturday till midnight
First Chicago location of the Chipotle-like fast-casual chain; the gimmick is personal pizzas, cooked in a flash.
Now that better burgers have fully colonized the city, it's time for the next wave of fast food: the fast-casual pizza. California-based Blaze Pizza is described as "the Chipotle of pizza" by its founders, Rick and Elise Wetzel of Wetzel's Pretzels. As at Chipotle, you move down an assembly line to choose the crust, sauce, and toppings for your single-size pie. Then the whole thing goes in the oven for exactly 180 seconds. Depending on the length of the line and how fast you eat, you could be in and out of Blaze Pizza in the same amount of time it takes to heat up a Tombstone. Unfortunately, a Blaze pizza doesn't taste that much better. The crust is thin as a cracker, but not especially crisp; the red sauce has a metallic tang, while the white sauce tastes like nothing at all; and the toppings are so minimal you get a single piece of sausage on every slice. Maybe the worst part is the annoyingly officious service: the assembly-line workers call you by your first name as much as possible while ignoring your every request. It's as if they can't contain their contempt for you for eating here.
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