There is a standard menu of different pizza options, but I built my own pizza, sticking with the standard red sauce. For my toppings, I chose mozzarella and ricotta cheese, artichoke hearts, pepperoni and roasted red peppers. The crust was extremely thin and crispy. I enjoy an extra cheesy pizza, so Blaze’s gooey, stringy cheese was ideal. The toppings were evenly distributed and didn’t take away from the flavorful sauce, which wasn’t overly sweet like many tomato sauces.
I also tried the Red Vine pizza from the signature pizzas menu. A vegetarian option, the Red Vine pizza has cherry tomatoes, basil and sliced rather than shredded mozzarella. Although I am not normally a fan of basil, the taste combined beautifully with the sauce, and the pizza was not overloaded with the herb.
Blaze also offers a number of side-salad options. For a pizza place, there is surprising variety. There are the standard Caesar and Italian options as well as healthier options, like a kale and quinoa mix.
Blaze also makes a number of lemonades in house. The blood orange flavor was delicious, though incredibly sweet. If I had taken more than a sip, the sweetness could have become overpowering.
After dinner, I tried one of their s’more cookie desserts, chocolate and marshmallow sandwiched between two graham cracker-like cookies. It wasn’t much to look at, but it was the perfect blend of chewy marshmallow and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. The outer layer was slightly crumblier than I would have liked.
The restaurant gives off a funky, edgy vibe. Exposed pipes run across the high ceilings. A string of small light bulbs hangs high above your head. The walls facing the parking lot are made almost entirely of windows, some of which are different colors, allowing for mostly natural light to fill the shop. The indoor seating area appears spacious, but when the restaurant gets overcrowded, seating can be difficult to find. There is outdoor seating for warmer months. The walls next to the counter are gray and lit up by glowing letters that say, “Make your mark.”
And make your mark is exactly what customers do if they choose the “build-your-own” option at the counter. As you select your desired sauce and toppings, the employees behind the counter talk to you as they create your pizza, asking, “How are you? Have you ever been to Blaze before?” The customer service is almost overbearing at times. Three different employees came to our table to ask how the pizza was. Though that attention may be charming to some, too much care can come across as pestering.
Blaze boasts that they bake your pizza in 180 seconds in their 500° Fahrenheit oven, and I can confirm that the restaurant keeps its word. The pizza bakes extremely quickly. The oven is so hot that there’s some room for error, such as easily burning the pizza or dropping each piping-hot plate on the ground. Blaze is aware of this, and employees are quick to hand out buy-one-get-one-free coupons to anyone who is less than satisfied with their experience.
Blaze is only a short ride from campus, about a 10- to 13-minute drive. On weekdays, the Emory Publix shuttle, which stops at both the Clairmont Campus and the Atlanta campus, goes back and forth between the Emory Commons plaza, where Blaze is located, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The pizza itself is not too expensive. You can build your own for $8.25 plus tax. If you feel like splurging, add a drink and dessert to the mix. The total adds up to around $13.
Whether it’s a quick to-go bite or a sit down dinner with friends, the pizza at Blaze is a comforting, warm treat on an off-campus night.