The smells are rich, the atmosphere is filled with laughs coming in between bites of pizza that are part slurp and part crunch and the line spans half the length of the building.
And, it’s only 6 p.m.
This could only apply to one place in College Park: Blaze Pizza.
Many UMD students name Blaze as their favorite College Park pizza joint, citing its choice of toppings, inviting atmosphere and serving style as reasons for why they can’t get enough.
“The serving style is very clever if you think about it,” said sophomore Mitul Patel. According to Patel, Blaze stands out among the other places on Route 1 because it’s a place students want to go to during the day—not just at 2 a.m. after a night of dancing at Terrapin’s Turf.
It’s clear to see why Patel said that after stopping in at Blaze on a Friday afternoon.
A person could get so caught up in the sights and smells of Blaze that one would even forget how long the line is. With swanky music playing in the background and mellow lighting, there’s a distinct contrast to the fluorescent lights of its pizza parlor competitors on Route 1.
Blaze gives customers a variety of options when it comes to their pizzas, offering a build-your-own pizza that comes with limitless toppings, a classic pizza that is just cheese and sauce or a single topping pizza. It also offers signature pizzas like the “BBQ Chkn” or the “Veg Out.”
“It’s the best,” said junior Dorian Robeits. “You can add as many toppings as you want.”
Blaze’s pizzas are a convenient 11 inches wide, meaning that for all the UMD hustlers, carrying it out of the shop is no problem.
Spanning from the bottom of the campus to the top, here are the top five places where you can spot Blaze fans with their pizzas.
1. McKeldin Mall
Some students enjoy their Blaze Pizza on the sprawling, McKeldin Mall, which isn’t a long walk from the pizza joint itself.
“On the day that Blaze was free, my friends and I went and got some and took it to McKeldin Mall,” said sophomore Lexie Schapitl. “It was lovely.”
Schapitl’s order? The classic crust, sauce and cheese combo with pepperoni, spinach, peppers and crushed red pepper sprinkled on top.
2. Leonardtown Community Center
Besides giving residents their packages, handing out spare keys and distributing the much-needed toilet paper, community center workers partake in another task: noshing on Blaze’s pizza.
“So I have class and I have to get here within 20 minutes before my class ends,” said Patel who works at the desk every Friday. “I walk as fast as I can to Blaze to get my pizza and walk here so I can enjoy it on my break…if I don’t get my pizza, I am [very] upset during my break.”
What’s the order Patel can’t get enough of? According to Patel, a regular crust with the spicy sauce and a drizzle of the white sauce, then mozzarella balls, ricotta cheese and shredded mozzarella. He tops it off with spinach, chopped garlic, red onions, olives, pineapples on one half and pesto on the other half.
You can even find Blaze’s pizza in dorms on North Campus, which are—lets be real here—miles away from the pizza joint. Maybe this is a sign that the pizza company should start up a delivery service?
“Sometimes when I can’t eat all of it,” said Molly Podlesny, a sophomore journalism and politics major who lives on North Campus, “I’ll eat it cold in the morning.”
Could it be that Podlesny’s combination of toppings has resulted in a taste so delicious it transcends our society’s breakfast guidelines? Probably.
She sticks with a regular crust, sauce and cheese combination, with spinach, basil, mozzarella and tomatoes, but what really makes her taste buds sing songs of worship is the olive oil and salt she puts on her pizza at the end.
4. Frat Houses
Students in sororities and fraternities alike are thanking the gods for 1.) Blaze Pizza, but 2.) especially Blaze’s incredibly close location to their chapter houses.
Jake Eisenberg, a sophomore journalism major, has been one of many frat bros to capitalize on this divine conveniency, having grabbed a box of Blaze and taking it back to his fraternity’s chapter house a couple of times.
Eisenberg has to be careful with what type of pizza he eats since he is allergic to gluten. However, Blaze’s gluten-free crust lets him indulge in a classic, greasy, cheese pizza with red sauce just like the rest of the UMD student body.
5. The Shuttles
If you ever try riding the shuttle after 5 p.m., I guarantee you’ll see students boarding the bus with a Blaze Pizza box in hand.
Where are they going with it? Most likely McKeldin Mall, Leonardtown Community Center, the frat houses, the dorms or somewhere in between.
I’m sure some students have even taken it to class with them.
Even though Route 1 already has an obnoxious number of pizza places, the popularity of Blaze Pizza among students is proof that there’s something different about this place.
From its conveniently-sized, delicious build-your-own pizzas, to its vibrant and inviting atmosphere, Blaze isn’t just another pizza place on Route 1.
Speaking of Blaze, Spoon University-UMD has a little surprise for you…
If you post a picture of your Blaze pizza on Instagram and hashtag it #blaze4blaze, you will be entered into a raffle to win one of four $10 Blaze gift cards, aka you will be entered to win a free Blaze pizza. But hold up, you must follow our Instagram account (@spoon_umd) and Blaze’s account (@blazepizza) to be entered.
We will announce the winners on April 19.
Now, you seem to love pizza…