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Blaze vs. 800 Degrees

The pizza chain movement has swept Evanston by storm. Last year, we were introduced to Blaze, the pizza chain notorious for creating its masterpieces in 3 minutes. But then came 800 Degrees, a true competitor to Blaze, known for its fresh ingredients and beautiful venue. This week, I attempted to figure out which pizza I liked better through eating pizza at both 800 Degrees and Blaze (such a burden, I know). However, before I give my feedback, I would just like to add that both pizzas were absolutely incredible and I will definitely return to both places.

First up, Blaze.

Blaze Review

photo courtesy of Spoon Northwestern (@spoon_nu)

Environment:

The employees in Blaze were very nice and helpful from the get go. They gave off a very relaxed, playful vibe. They wanted to have a conversation even when people were in line, which is something I appreciated. However, a huge downfall of Blaze is the space. It feels a bit crammed; at times it almost feels like you’re being forced to sit in a dimly lit corner. Even when I was waiting for my pizza, I felt awkward standing next to a table of people, but didn’t really have anywhere else to stand. The restaurant itself is nearly always full though, no matter the hour. But it may look more full given its small size.

Ingredients:

Blaze offers a lot of ingredients and sauces. I personally prefer the sauce of Blaze over the sauce of 800 Degrees. I also did like the pepperoni better at Blaze than I did at 800 Degrees. However, I didn’t get a ton of toppings to save some money. It definitely appeared as though they had a wide variety, and all the toppings looked good. They seemed fresh and yummy!

The Actual Pizza:

The taste of my pizza was good, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of grease. I’m not sure if it was just my pizza, but it was insanely greasy. As someone who likes to think that they eat rather healthy, this was a huge turn off for me. However, as I mentioned earlier, I did like the sauce better than 800 Degrees. I just felt a little weird about eating it given the amount of grease, and felt like I couldn’t finish the whole thing. Overall, I still definitely enjoyed my pizza!

Other Observations:

The price point at Blaze is definitely affordable, especially as a student. Not to mention, the location is prime, given its proximity to campus. They also have a lot of premade combos that looked good, but I personally always like to build my own pizza when given the option, which is why I didn’t choose to take advantage of that.

Next up, 800 Degrees.

 

800 Degrees Review

photo courtesy of Spoon Northwestern (@spoon_nu)

Environment:

As with Blaze, the employees were so friendly. From the second I walked through the door, they were engaged and excited. The manager was also very involved, giving the employees encouragement and tips for making the pizzas. I thought this dynamic created a really great worksphere, and also made me happy about eating there. The actual venue is beyond beautiful and spacious. You never have to worry about finding a seat or being crammed. However, given how big it is, it seemed a bit empty.

Ingredients:

800 Degrees boasts about the freshness of their ingredients, and they aren’t wrong! I had some veggies and meat, and they tasted amazing. They even have a massive banner that talks about their fresh ingredients. The only downside is that all ingredients cost extra (and by extra, I mean a lot extra), so I didn’t want to get too many in order to be price conscious. The peppers and meat that I had were delicious, but as I mentioned earlier, I did like the peperoni from Blaze better.

The Actual Pizza:

I loved the 800 Degrees crust. You had a choice of regular, thin crust, or gluten free all for the same price, whereas at Blaze, gluten free crust costs $3 extra. I ended up going with the regular, which I thought was a solid choice. I felt much healthier while eating the pizza, even with more toppings. After eating the whole thing, I felt very satisfied, but not completely stuffed. It was just the right amount of grease, and I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all. To say the least, I loved every bite!

Other Observations:

800 Degrees is definitely more expensive, which I see as a downfall. The location is fine, but not as close as Blaze. I think people will warm up to the idea of walking a bit further to get there, especially once the weather gets nicer! 800 Degrees also has an incredible selection of salads, small bites, and gelato, giving it more of a restaurant vibe, rather than a chain. They also have a “pizza of the day” for $5 that you can see on their Instagram page, which is a great deal given the size of the pizza and how much their typical pizza costs. And last but not least, wildcard discount. Enough said.

 

SO WHO WINS?!

In my opinion, I’d have to give this one to 800 Degrees. From the employees to my actual pizza, I thought everything was on point. For me, the deal breaker was the lack of grease. Although I still enjoyed my Blaze pizza, I couldn’t handle how much grease was on the pizza, and it really detracted from the rest of the experience. I also like how they had a lot of variety on their menu, from specialty pies to “build your own” pizza, salad, etc. You definitely feel like home when you’re there and I’m looking forward to trying out other items on their menu!

Even though I personally prefer 800 Degrees to Blaze, make sure to check out both restaurants for yourself and see which one you like best!

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