One fast-casual pizza joint in Champaign closes, another opens.
Brixx Pizza briefly closed abruptly last week — it had announced it would close Dec. 9 — but a similar type of restaurant is bound for the other end of town. Blaze Pizza is under construction at 2506 N. Prospect Avenue (next to Aaron’s) with an undisclosed opening date.
Blaze has a restaurant in Normal, its first outside of Chicagoland, where it has 15 locations. Blaze has a varied pizza menu, with a build-your-own compilation that includes seven different cheeses (goat and vegan among them), 17 veggies, seven meats and 10 sauces. It says pizzas are “fast-fire’d” for “180 seconds.” Blaze does not charge for each topping; 11-inch pizzas generally are $6 to $8.
Three salads are offered and a couple desserts, but the menu is scant aside from pizza. Beer and wine are available. Blaze features sit-down service and carryout only.
Blaze has 200 locations across North America and has become known as the restaurant chain that’s backed by NBA superstar LeBron James.
Fast-casual pizza has taken off, and that trend certainly applies to Champaign. Though Brixx and Azzip Pizza (on Green Street) have closed, Pies the Limit opened within the past year at Champaign’s Village at the Crossing. Za’s (two Champaign locations) and Mia Za’s (Campustown) remain staples.