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Blaze Pizza – a pizzeria chain backed by NBA star LeBron James, which made its Missouri debut, in Kirkwood, in March – serves signature pies cooked to order in just 3 minutes in an open-flame oven.

Chris McDonald serves as director of operations for the franchise group that owns the rights to the brand in Missouri and Kansas; he mentions the existence of more than 260 locations of the rapidly growing fast-casual chain, which started in Pasadena, California, six years back. (McDonald oversees locations in Wichita and Oleatha, Kansas, with his group soon planning to open three more in Missouri.)

“We like to say that we are changing the way people think about and eat pizza,” McDonald says. “By that, what we mean is that we’re fast enough for lunch with great ingredients that are totally customizable. Our dough is made in-house fresh every day, and all of our ingredients are clean, which means there are no artificial colorings, flavorings or preservatives.”

Blaze Pizza fills a 2,600-square-foot space, with 65 seats in its dining room. The industrial aesthetic features exposed ceilings and orange highlights throughout the room to mimic the brand’s namesake flame. At the counter, employees guide guests through ordering and assemble pies before their eyes on the line.

Pizzas are built on a thin crust with a crisp bottom and a bit of a chew. Eight signature combinations include highlights like the Green Stripe, with pesto drizzle, grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, chopped garlic, mozzarella and arugula. Another popular pick, the Meat Eater, features pepperoni, crumbled meatballs, red onion, mozzarella and red sauce.

For something more straightforward, guests can opt for the Red Vine with ovalini, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, red sauce and an olive oil drizzle. The “BBQ Chkn” comes with grilled chicken, mozzarella, red onion, banana peppers, Gorgonzola and a barbecue sauce drizzle.

Build-your-own pizzas are also available, with the option of gluten-free crust, as well as a selection of simple salads as both sides and entrées. For dessert, guests can choose from sweets such as s’more pies, cookies and brownies. To drink, Blaze Pizza offers beer, wine, tea, Tustin, California’s Blue Sky Beverage soda and rotating varieties of aguas frescas and lemonade. (Options on the last two types of libation include a blueberry-hibiscus agua fresca and a blood orange lemonade.)

Whether interested in a pie or simply a tall, cold Blue Sky, guests to Blaze Pizza should make sure to visit the new eatery before catching I Do! I Do! from STAGES St. Louis.

“I think the thing that sets us apart is the fact that we’re chef-driven and really focus on the quality of the ingredients going into that Fire Stone oven,” McDonald says. “I think the pizza is the big hero, and we’re really proud of that.”

Blaze Pizza, 1050 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, 314-682-4005, blazepizza.com

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