Culture & Food » Food & Drink

Fast Pies

After a record-setting giveaway, Blaze Pizza has found a groove near Gonzaga

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Blaze Pizza opened its first Inland Nortwest shop last month. - MAX CARTER
  • Max Carter
  • Blaze Pizza opened its first Inland Nortwest shop last month.

Hundreds of people standing in line near Gonzaga is fairly commonplace during basketball season, but on Sept. 25, Blaze Pizza gave people a new reason to stand outside for hours — free pizza.

That day, 2,750 free pizzas were given away — breaking the company record — and Blaze Pizza Manager Greg Bade believes that the craziness and excitement of that long line showed Spokane the kind of vibe Blaze creates. Originating in California and now operating more than 85 restaurants across the country, this is the first Blaze Pizza location to open in the Inland Northwest.

"We're fast casual. We have quality ingredients without nitrates or preservatives, and we'll make sure to make you a thin, crisp pizza quickly," Bade says.

Blaze's menu offers signature pizzas and salads, or the option to build your own. Each pie is cooked for about 180 seconds in an open-flame oven and costs around $8, the reasoning behind the pricing being that people can order a full pizza and drink for under $10.

"Some people may be thinking 'Did Spokane really need another pizza joint?' And I say no, not if it's just a pizza joint, but if it's a Blaze Pizza though, then yes. There's plenty of space for the kind of product we offer," Bade says.

The employees at Blaze aim to proactively engage guests, asking for their names when they first step up to order. Each Blaze employee continues to address guests by their names while creating their pies in an assembly-line style.

"We value our customers and we also value the people behind the pizza," says Bade. Blaze mostly hires people around 23 or younger, hoping to provide entry-level positions to train employees on how to treat people well, and work in an environment where they are also treated well.

"I've really loved seeing first-time guests coming back again and again," says Bade. "So we're going to give a free pizza to anyone who brings this article into Blaze this Friday." ♦

Blaze Pizza • 926 N. Division • Open Mon-Sun, 11 am-10 pm • blazepizza.com • 326-0800