Blaze, which has 181 restaurants in 32 states, will open its first Tucson location at 5615 E. Broadway with free pizzas for one and all on Friday.

After settling into the Phoenix market over the past year, California import Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza will open its first Tucson restaurant on Thursday, March 16.

And on Friday, March 17, it’s celebrating the grand opening in a tummy-tickling way: free pizza for everyone.

From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, you can get a free build-your-own artisanal pizza if you follow Blaze Pizza on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Blaze will open at 11 a.m. Thursday in a 2,700-square-foot space at 5615 E. Broadway, near Krispy Kreme. The restaurant can seat 102 inside and 26 on the outdoor patio.

So just what is fast-casual pizza? It’s the assembly line pizzeria that operates like Chipotle or Subway, where you go down the line selecting your crust, sauce and toppings (meats, cheeses, veggies). The pie goes into the oven for 180 seconds or so and, voila, a golden brown, made-your-way pizza for around $8 for an 11-inch, single-serve pie.

Blaze Pizza has been around since 2012, launching in California as a chef-driven pizza joint that also offers fresh-made salads, s’mores dessert pies and blood orange lemonade. Pizza dough is scratch-made 24 hours in advance. The Tucson restaurant will feature a selection of wine and draft beers.

Tucson joins 181 Blaze restaurants in 32 states and Canada including three in the Phoenix area. Operating hours for the Tucson location will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.