“A Wetzel’s Pretzels founder is poised to launch a new fast-casual pizza concept called Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza that targets the growing niche for quick artisan pies” according to The Nationa’s Restaurant News.

“Rick Wetzel, cofounder and president of Wetzel’s Pretzels with his wife Elise Wetzel, developed Blaze, which has a slew of high-profile investors, including former California First Lady Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner.

The first Blaze restaurant is scheduled to open in August in Irvine, Calif., near the University of California–Irvine campus. Two more units are planned to open before the end of the year, in Pasadena and West Los Angeles. Wetzel said he plans to grow the chain through franchising once the concept is established.

Blaze joins a growing number of pizza concepts vying for fast-casual positioning that borrows elements from Chipotle Mexican Grill, with its customizable menu and dishes prepared in front of guests as they walk a service line.”


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