Blaze Pizza (San Jose, CA)

8:00:00 AM

Easy as PiePizza, preferably

What do normal 20-something years old do on a Friday night?

Stand in line for free pizzaobviously.

Blaze Pizza just opened up a new location in San Jose on April 1st and had their free pizza day that Friday (April 3rd). Clearly, the word has gone out because my friends and I arrived at a little past 7:30 PM and there were probably 30 people standing outside, not including the 10-15 inside the store. The store is located in between the Men’s Warehouse and Boudin Bakery at the Almaden Plaza Shopping Center. Hard to miss, if you turn in the right entrance.

It was actually my first time in that plaza because I’m unfamiliar with the areadespite still being in San Jose.

So we stood in line and waitedand waited. I had a feeling this was going to happen, but luckily it wasn’t too cold. An employee was going down the line handing out menus, which gave us an opportunity to browse our options while huddling with our back against the wind.

Thankfully, the wind died down not too long after.

8:50 PM

By this time, we finally reached the front of the line and there were employees standing near the entrance distributing stamps. This is probably the closest I’ll get to having a FAIRY TAIL stamp or... firebending. And even thenI knew it was a stretch.

Anyways, the stamp serves as a proof that you received your pizza. This way, people wouldn’t come back for seconds.

9:00 PM

If you’re familiar with Chipotle, Pieology, and Sizzling Stone, you’ll maneuver through the line quickly. If not, be prepared… don’t take this lightly because all of the sudden you’ll be bombarded by all these toppings when you decide to “build your own pizza.”

The workers, while friendly, looked incredibly exhausted and a bit frazzled. I don’t blame them. It must’ve been an insane day. They greet you by name as you walk through the line, picking your ingredients. It felt a little more like yelling because it got extremely loud once you reached the ingredients line.

They move you through the line quicklyfrom taking your name, sauce choices, cheese choice, meat and vegetable choice. And suddenly you’ll find yourself at the cashier line where I got handed a couponfor more pizza.

Just take my money, why don’t you?!

9:20 PM

After an hour and forty minutes of waiting, I have my pizzajust shy 40 minutes of closing.  They call your name when your pizza is done. And that's where you can choose any other remaining ingredients you want on your pizza.

The pizza looked good and was baked quickly. Blaze Pizza doesn’t joke around when they say it only takes 180 seconds to bake.

For my "build your own pizza," I got:
  • classic red sauce
  • shredded mozzarella
  • parmesan
  • applewood bacon
  • grilled chicken
  • smoked ham
  • artichokes
  • arugula
  • black olives
  • roasted garlic chunks
  • mushrooms

Thanks to the pizza pie machine they have, my pie actually has a crust rather than a flat round.

It’s almost inevitable for me NOT to make comparison between pies, especially when I had pizza that afternoon for work. Not by choice, but it was decided last minute at that everybody was going out for Indian-styled pizzas at Tasty Subs & Pizza Restaurant. As a result, I have a skewed perception and slight bias.

And what do I mean by that?

I mean… Blaze came off as bland. It could use some spices or a subtle kick. And that was when I wished I went for the spicy red sauce instead of the original. It had one hell of a crunch, thanks to that crust though. The flavors were subtle and the arugula was a nice touch to give the pie some contrast.

Mine and the one on top is my friend's.
Whoever cut my pizza could have taking more of an effort to make sure the slices were uniform and completely cut-through though. There was some guess work and “make-your-own-line” on some slices, but there's nothing I can't rip into pieces.

I'll cut the workers some slack. It was Free Pizza Day after all.

After devouring three slices, I finally had time to take notice of the dining area. For the amount of people that was passing through the store, there was a significant amount of empty seats. Either people ate quickly or many took their pizzas to go. What was most impressive was how clean the restaurant was. I didn’t have to clean off pizza crumbs or wipe away sticky soda residue and that was ah-mazing. Whoever did the training when it came to tidiness and cleanliness, hats off to you!

All in all, I had a pleasant experience at Blaze Pizza. If anything, I think service will be even  better when there isn’t an insane line out the door.

The BBQ sauce also looks pretty good. 
And maybe, after I try out MOD Pizza, I can write a comparison post between Pieology, Blaze Pizza and MOD Pizza. Battle of the Pies. May the best pie win! That sounds like a plan.

So verdict? What are your thoughts on Blaze Pizza? Is there room for another custom-made pizza place? Or are you set on one of your favorites? And if so, how do you approach these “BYOP” places? Are you a “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” or do you have rules and guidelines? Because I swear one day, I’ll have a brain fart and put garlic, pineapple and BBQ sauce together.

5353 Almaden Expy
San Jose, CA 95118

You Might Also Like