Becoming the "Chipotle of pizza" is a goal for innumerable upstart chains, including The Pizza Studio, Live Basil, 800 Degrees, Project Pie, and Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint. Even Chipotle itself has gotten in on the act, teaming up with Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food & Wine to open a super-secret new pizza concept, Pizzeria Locale, in Denver last year. But as of yet, none of these chains has managed to score a foothold in SF—until now. Blaze Pizza, founded by Rick and Elise Wetzel of Wetzel's Pretzels fame, will be the first DIY fast-casual pizza spot in SF, taking a berth in the Stonestown Galleria's former Williams-Sonoma space.
At 90 seats, including a 24-seat patio, Blaze is definitely a step up from the standard food-court offering, and its investor list (which includes LeBron James, former California first lady Maria Shriver, and the founder of Panda Express) is an impressive one. They're currently at 58 outlets total (the other NorCal locations are in Fremont, Gold River, and Roseville), and plan to open outposts in San Jose, Tracy, and Davis by year's end.
For diners, the concept is simple: choose your sauce and cheese of choice, as well as toppings both standard (pepperoni, onions) and less so (zucchini, arugula). They make the pie and bake it up in about three minutes. Salads and a s'more pizza round out the menu. If all goes well, expect to see Blaze Pizza make its SF debut by the end of the month.