The pizza at Blaze wasn’t bad, but it did have some flaws. My biggest complaint was that the sauce that I chose, the spicy marinara, had this sour taste to it. I think perhaps there was something in it that might not have set well with me. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact flavor, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. It wasn’t terrible, but I will likely just order regular marinara next time. The ingredients are all there with the exception of shrimp, which I found funny considering this is southern Louisiana. Shrimp should be on that menu. I felt like they had a lot of fresh ingredients, but there was something oddly “franchise-y” about this place. I get that it is a franchise, and that usually doesn’t bother me, but everything here looked so fake. For example, I hate a dough press. Just flatten that damn thing out using your hands or an old school roller. I went to Papa Johns the other day and even they had a guy throwing the dough in the air like a pro. At a chain pizza place! I get that a dough press makes for a pretty consistent dough, but there’s no personalization, no personality at all. Another thing was that there is clearly defined rules on how many of one ingredient they are allowed to put on a pizza. I asked for pepperoni and he clearly counted the amount that he put on there. It’s not the end of the world, but they were a little skimpy on the ingredients. Eh, call me a whiney-baby. Trust me, I wasn’t looking for problems, but something just felt off to me. And the best part is that I have a local place to compare this too. I’ll go into more detail about that in the Overall section. Something else to note is that my meal cost me about $12, minus drink, about $10. I feel like that might still be a little pricey, but it’s really not something that I will complain about.
On another note, the ham. I’ve never been so upset with a slice of ham. It was thick, so slightly difficult to bite into and completely cut with your teeth, but heaven forbid you try to pull that slice of pizza away from your mouth once you take a bit of the ham. Guess what? All the crap on top of the ham, or underneath it, is coming with you. I got sauce and cheese on my shirt because the ham wasn’t going quietly. Damn it all. Find me a pizza joint that puts giant slices of ham on their pizza. Please, find it. Because I can promise you that someone has gotten that crap on their shirt because of it. My advice to Blaze. Cut the ham into small pieces. Please.
The place is really well-designed. It’s a nice dining room with plenty of space and I never felt too crowded. It was hot outside, but I decided to go eat outside anyway. The outside area was covered and stayed pretty cool during my visit, even with the heat. The color scheme is actually really cool looking. It’s sort of a stained wood and dark scheme with plenty of Earth tones. Even the tables are made of the nice stained wood. The dining room, and from what I could see of the kitchen, was very clean. I saw employees go into the dining room multiple times to clean up or pick up trash that might have been lying on a table or floor. That’s a really great sign. I didn’t end up visiting the restroom during my visit, but if they treat it the same was as they do the dining room, it should be clean. The only dirty part of the kitchen that I saw was near the cheese area of the pizza making station. But, I highly attribute to the employee making my pizza who decided to drop the cheese on my pizza from about two feet above the pizza itself. Didn’t make much sense to me either.
Their slogan is “Fast Fire’d.” I don’t understand why there is an apostrophe before the D, but I digress. They do live up to their slogan. My pizza was cooked in about 4-5 minutes after completing the building process. My name was called and I was on my way. Not a bad deal if you ask me. I really cannot find any issues with the timeliness of the place. The employees all seem to hustle and the speed in which my pizza came out reflects this.
This was likely the biggest issue I had with the place. It was primarily down to the person that served me during my pizza building. He was the most unenthusiastic employee. The name that comes to mind is Ben Stein (Clear Eyes guy and teacher from Ferris Bueller) but in a far less funny situation. He did the bare minimum in speaking and personality to get by, but nothing more. He, thankfully, didn’t move as slow as his personality was, so my pizza was made in a reasonable time. It’s strange how one person can make such a large difference in an experience. The cashier wasn’t nearly as boring and was great to talk to. She saved some face, but overall, the service experience could have been loads better.
The elephant in the room is, “is this place better than Pizza Artista?” The simple answer is no. I feel like Pizza Artista makes everything fresh, has more local ingredients, and doesn’t feel like a cookie cutter restaurant. Blaze felt too formulaic and forced. It just didn’t ring well with me, especially considering I have a place to compare it to. That’s the interesting part about Lafayette. Clear winners are chosen once another place of the same variety opens up. I’m still on the Pizza Artista fan-wagon. I didn’t look at this review with biased eyes, but Pizza Artista truly does have a better experience and product.