2017-07-19 / Grouchy Gourmet

Build your own pizza, Rapid City

By Grouchy

Back when Grouchy was a little shaver, Rapid City had only two pizza options: the frozen foods section of the grocery store, or Dwayne’s or Randy’s House of Pizza, I forget which it was, maybe it was both, but it really doesn’t matter.

Silver lining was, if you got a flat tire, that frozen pizza came in handy as a spare, but the situation today, with a myriad of local pizza options, makes any benefits from the old pizza reality pale by comparison.

Pizza franchises abound, but there is one that is this Grouchy’s favorite, and if you head east on Eglin, you will find it next to Five Guys and a stone’s throw from Target. There are plans to open a west side Blaze Pizza, but for now the pretentious will have to drive through the gap to our side of the town and tolerate our unwashed presence in the same restaurant.

First, let’s get what’s wrong with Blaze Pizza out of the way before we get to what I like most.

There is a mantra on the wall, “Keep up the good work, nonconformists.” Are you kidding? Nothing is more conformist than people so struck by their own uniqueness and self-importance that being nonconformist is just conforming to that pretense. So, the lame attempt at being hip aside, an attempt shared by the business and too many of the patrons, we can get to the product, the pizza.

A line forms on the right and proceeds to the left past a long line of available toppings, and Grouchy is asked if Grouchy has ever been to Blaze before, which is really nice, because Grouchy never eats at Fuddrucker’s any more because they made people feel like they were doing them a favor by bothering to explain stuff to them. Another pretentious place, where the pretentiousness outweighs the quality of the food they serve.

But not Blaze Pizza!

They start your pizza with a doughy circle and want to know what kind of sauce you want. Grouchy selects classic red. Then they have a bunch of cheese selections, and Grouchy selects shredded mozzarella.

Now, the toppings. Grouchy opts for bacon and chicken, for his meat choice, mushrooms for his vegetable choice, if mushrooms are a vegetable. They are so darn strange they could be anything, and astronauts might one day find them growing on the surface of Mars.

The last three things Grouchy adds are pineapple (I know, that’s borderline obnoxious, but every now and then Grouchy wants to walk down the far side of the street), a double shot of oregano and a dash of olive oil and pesto drizzle.

The guy working the oven, who is usually younger, with a tattoo and piercing, although nothing to excess, scoops up the pizza on a flat shovel head attached to a long stick, then he shoves that pizza way back in an oven, and you can see the flames in there. If you wanted, you could stand there and watch your pizza bake. I did that the first time. Don’t bother, better making small talk with the any available human who looks halfway interesting.

You get yourself a nice cup of blood orange lemonade and then you sit down with your pizza, and this is no joke, it’s pretty delicious. You never want to go back to Dominoes or Pizza Hut again.

One of the great parts about Blaze is how inexpensive it is. I won’t say cheap, because that implies inferior quality, not the case. A build-your-own-pizza and a blood red orange will set you back about 13 bucks, and that includes a two-dollar donation to the tip jar.

All-in-all, the best value for your lunchtime dollar in Rapid City. Parking lot is annoying to get out of, but that is why Grouchy is Grouchy, because Grouchy tends to be annoyed by stuff that wouldn’t annoy you.

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