LeBron James-Backed Blaze Pizza Coming to Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, a California-based build-your-own-pizza chain, announced it is entering the South Florida market with three locations to open over the next year.

The company specializes in personal pizzas baked in hot, open-flame ovens by "pizzasmiths" who ensure that the thin-crust pies are "fast-fire'd" in less than 180 seconds.

See also: Yogurtland Plans Expansion in South Florida

The restaurant that features signature pies like the meat eater, green stripe, red vine, and veg out as well as custom pizzas -- all for under $8 -- will open its first location in Fort Lauderdale at Uptown Centre at 6334 N. Andrews Ave. Located across the street from Cypress Creek Station, the fast-casual restaurant will open this fall and feature a patio with more than 50 seats for outdoor dining.

A 2,300-square-foot Boca Raton restaurant, located at the Fifth Avenue Shops (2146 N. Federal Highway) near Publix, will be next. A third Blaze Pizza will follow.

The expansion of Blaze Pizza into South Florida is being done by an investment group led by Levy Family Partners. The investment group includes Miami Heat's LeBron James. The partnership has entered into a ten-store franchise development agreement with Blaze Pizza and will also expand the company into the Chicago market.

Blaze Pizza was founded in 2011 by Elise and Rick Wetzel, of Wetzel's Pretzels fame, and the concept is backed by a host of celebrities and bigwigs, including Maria Shriver, Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner, movie producer John Davis, and LeBron James. Blaze operates restaurants throughout California and the Midwest, with plans to expand into major markets like New York, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and Raleigh-Durham in addition to South Florida.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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