By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Dec 06, 2017 at 10:02 AM

Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza will open its fourth Wisconsin location at 2907 N. Oakland Ave. on Thursday, Dec. 7.

Known for its fast, affordable "artisan" pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies, Blaze Pizza has grown from just two California locations in 2012 to more than 220 as of September of 2017. In fact, according to Forbes, Blaze is the fastest growing restaurant chain (ever).

And we don’t know for sure, but it could have something to do with LeBron James, who has been a part of Blaze from the beginning, as an investor, franchisee and paid endorser of the company. It likely doesn't hurt that he frequently promotes the brand on social media to his millions of followers and occasionally shows up at a Blaze location, as shown in this video, which went viral last year.

The chances are slim that you’ll meet James at the East Side location (though who knows?). But, you could score yourself a free build-your-own pizza if you follow Blaze Pizza on any of their social media channels (Instagram, Twitter or Facebook) and visit the new restaurant on Friday, Dec. 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

When you do, you can check out the new 3,300-square foot restaurant, which sports seating for 80 guests, along with an outdoor patio, which will come in handy once summer rolls around again.

In keeping with the chain’s commitment to "Intelligent Choices for Our Pizzas, People & Planet," elements of the restaurant are constructed from recycled and sustainable materials. They also make use of eco-friendly packaging, and energy-efficient LED lighting.

But most people get excited about the pizza. A signature element at Blaze locations is the interactive open-kitchen format which allows guests to customize one of the menu’s signature pizzas or create their own, choosing from a wide selection of fresh, artisanal ingredients, including vegan cheese and gluten-free pizza dough – all for about $8. Once ordered, the pizzas are "fast-fir’d" and ready to eat in just about 180 seconds. So patience does not have to be one of your finer virtues.

"Our mission at Blaze is really simple – we’re taking pizza back to its roots," noted Jim Mizes, president & CEO of Blaze Pizza, in a release about the opening. "By making dough in-house, carefully sourcing ingredients, and cooking by fire, we’re giving guests a great way to enjoy artisanal pizza without the wait. It’s changing the way people think about and eat pizza."

Blaze Pizza is open Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.