Pizza chain targets Wisconsin market

Pasadena, Calif.-based Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza today announced that Walch Hospitality Group LLC, led by John Walch, has signed an agreement to develop six franchise stores in Milwaukee and Madison.

The new Wisconsin stores are part of a development plan to build a concentration of Blaze Pizza restaurants in the Midwest that will include the neighboring states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

The first Wisconsin location is scheduled to open in Milwaukee this summer in a location that has not yet been announced.

“The stores in Wisconsin will be a tent-pole in our expansion throughout the Midwest,” said Elise Wetzel, president of Blaze Pizza. “We’ve had strong interest from franchise candidates in this part of the country and are currently working to identify the best development partners for the brand.”

Blaze Pizza uses an assembly line format to create artisan pizzas at a quick pace for $6.85 per pie. Each Blaze Pizza restaurant makes its own dough from scratch using a recipe that requires a 24-hour fermentation period to produce its signature light, crisp crust. Guests watch as the crusts travel down the assembly line to “co-create” a signature pizza or design one of their own – with over 40 artisanal toppings to choose from. Pizzas are “fast-fire’d” in a hot oven and ready in just 120 seconds.

Blaze Pizza’s menu also features signature salads, fresh lemonades, craft beer & wine and house-made S’more Pies. For pizza fans with specific dietary needs, Blaze Pizza offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese.

Blaze Pizza is a creation of Elise and Rick Wetzel (founder of Wetzel’s Pretzels), and the concept is backed by investors, including Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner.

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