LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Get ready, Louisvillians! It’s going to be a blazin’ hot summer. Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, the nation’s leading fast-casual artisanal pizza concept, announced today the opening of its third Louisville location late this summer.

According to a news release, the new restaurant will be located in the Paddock Shops at 4055 Summit Plaza Drive, next to Zoe’s Kitchen and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. This marks the fifth Blaze in Kentucky after Bowling Green opens later this month.

Each Blaze Pizza features an interactive open-kitchen format that allows guests to customize one of the menu’s signature pizzas or create their own, choosing from a wide selection of carefully sourced, high-quality ingredients for around $8.

The generously sized personal pizzas are then sent to a blazing hot open-flame oven – the centerpiece of the restaurant – where dedicated pizza makers ensure that the thin-crust pies are fast-fire’d and ready to eat in just 180 seconds.

The concept, known for its custom-built pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies, came to Kentucky in June 2014 with the opening of its first Louisville restaurant at Shelbyville Road Plaza in St. Matthews. A second location opened at Louisville’s Middletown Commons in June 2015.

“Blaze Pizza will be a welcome addition to the Paddock Shops, which has become a Louisville hot spot for top-notch shopping and dining,” said Rodney Poston, Operating Partner for Blaze Pizza in Kentucky. “Blaze’s fast-casual concept is perfect for area shoppers who want a delicious, high-quality meal without the wait.”

Each restaurant makes its own dough from scratch and requiring a 24-hour fermentation period. For pizza fans with specific dietary needs, Blaze Pizza offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese.

The authenticity of Blaze Pizza, along with its culture that focuses on the happiness of its guests and crew, has been the key to the concept’s nationwide popularity and expansion.

Award-winning design architect Ana Henton will add several unique, modern touches to the new Louisville location, including an over-sized wall mural custom designed to suit the space.

The new Blaze Pizza will be operated by Louisville-based Millennial Restaurant Group (MRG), which continues to develop the concept throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida. The partnership consists of James Patterson Sr., Jim Patterson II, Ulysses (Junior) Bridgeman, Wayne Albritton and Collins Cogan. About Blaze Pizza: The first Blaze Pizza® restaurant opened on Aug. 6, 2012, in Irvine, Calif., and quickly gained attention for its chef-driven recipes, thoughtful interior design, and a service culture that celebrates individuality.

Now ranked as the overall #2 fast-casual brand in FastCasual.com’s annual Top 100 list, Blaze Pizza is building momentum and developing a cult-like following as it expands across the country. The company currently operates 134 restaurants in 28 states and Canada, including the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Dallas, Las Vegas and Washington D.C. Founded by Elise and Rick Wetzel (co-founder of Wetzel’s Pretzels), the concept is backed by investors including LeBron James, Maria Shriver, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner and movie producer John Davis. For more information, please visit blazepizza.

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Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 25-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass, Whisky Magazine, WhiskeyWash.com and The Bourbon Review. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

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