Blaze “Fast Fire’d” Pizza, a locally owned pizza franchise, which touts NBA star LeBron James as a major investor, opens a new location today in Ammon.

The restaurant, located in the Sandcreek Commons shopping center, serves custom-built pizzas, salads and desserts. The pizzas are customized on an assembly line, then placed in an open-flame, 700-degree oven and cooked in minutes.

It’s a 2,700-square-foot open kitchen restaurant with a 74-person interior capacity and outdoor seating. The store will employ about 20 locals.

It’s the fifth Blaze Pizza location in Idaho. There are three in the Boise metropolitan area and one in Twin Falls.

Patrick Fenderson, of Twin Falls, is a developing partner on the Ammon location. He owns the Twin Falls Blaze Pizza, which opened in 2017.

Fenderson said he’s been in the franchise business a long time.

“(Ammon) is a good market,” he said. “Everything else is here. If it works in Twin, it’ll work here.”

Fenderson stressed that Blaze Pizza is a different kind of pizza restaurant, not just because of the unique assembly-line style, but because pizza dough, salad dressings and other ingredients are made in-house. Fruits and vegetables are rotated seasonally.

“The biggest thing that we’ve got here is it’s all natural,” Fenderson said. “The freshness, the quality of the food: if you have taste buds, you’ll realize it right off the get-go.”

The Blaze Pizza franchise was founded in 2011 in Pasadena, Calif., and has expanded rapidly. It now has nearly 400 locations in the U.S. and locations in four international countries.

“They’re setting things on fire,” Fenderson said.

Blaze Pizza plans to have 750 locations worldwide by 2022.

In addition to Los Angeles Lakers star James, journalist Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner are founding investors of the company.

“Our mission at Blaze is really simple — we’re taking pizza back to its roots,” said Jim Mizes, president & CEO of Blaze Pizza, in a company news release. “By making dough in-house, using carefully sourced ingredients, and cooking by fire, we’re giving guests a great way to enjoy artisanal pizza without the wait. It’s changing the way people think about and eat pizza.”

Blaze Pizza, which was ranked 17th in Fast Casual‘s “2018 Top 100 Movers & Shakers” rankings, is a quick-service restaurant, a dining style that likely will grow in the coming years in eastern Idaho.

Quick-service restaurants are those with limited service, including fast food, fast-casual dining and anything from coffee to concessions to convenience stores.

QSR Magazine, a food industry publication that focuses on quick-service dining, last year ranked Idaho Falls-Pocatello (the two cities were studied as a combined metropolitan area) in the top 10 of its Growth 40 rankings, a list of U.S. cities and/or regions that have the most potential for growth in the quick-service dining industry.

QSR Magazine said Idaho Falls-Pocatello has the perfect blend of population growth, market size and quick-service restaurant density to be an attractive option for new restaurant brands, such as Blaze Pizza.

The Ammon Blaze Pizza, at 2698 Sunnyside Road, will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

Customers who visit the Ammon location on Friday and follow the brand on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook will receive a free build-your-own pizza.

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-542-6762. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.

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