UNIVERSITY PARK -- Quick-bake pizza concept Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza has a projected Dec. 1 opening in the District at University Town Center.
The company, whose investors include LeBron James, is expanding throughout Florida, including at 215 N. Cattlemen Road beside Panera and JoS. A Bank.
Other Florida locations to open by the end of 2015 include its first Florida location at Fort Lauderdale's Uptown Center in November and Gainesville in December. In 2015, Blaze will open in Orlando near University of Central Florida, Davie near Nova Southeastern University and Tallahassee.
The Bradenton Herald first reported Blaze Pizza's deal with Benderson Development in August, when the developer also inked deals with AT&T, JoS. A Bank and DSW.
Todd Mathes, director of development for Benderson Development, expects the pizza joint to be open Dec. 1, he told the Herald earlier this month.
Blaze Pizza is kind of like the Chipotle of pizza, with an assembly line set-up making thin-crust pies that bake in three minutes. It is very similar to the Rise Pies that opened this month inside The Mall at University Town Center.
Blaze features gluten-free options, vegan cheese, wine and craft beer. The 11-inch pizzas typically cost under $8.
"Our mission at Blaze is really simple -- we're all about bringing the community a place where guests can connect, create and enjoy great pizza at crazy fast speed," said Jim Mizes, president and COO of Blaze Pizza. "If you think about it, there hasn't been a good way to enjoy a made-from-scratch pizza without the wait. Now there is. We believe this will be a game-changer in Florida."
The first Blaze Pizza restaurant opened on Aug. 6, 2012, in Irvine, Calif.