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Maria Shriver Investing in Blaze, a Quick-Serve Pizza Company

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Photo courtesy of Blaze Pizza on Facebook
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The fast-casual pizza trend is heating up, and Maria Shriver is getting in on the action. Shriver, Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner, Panda Express founder Andrew Cherng and “Alien vs. Predator” producer John Davis, have collectively dropped $3 million on the new pizza chain called Blaze.

Joining the ranks of California-based 800 Degrees and PizzaRev, Blaze hopes that their fast fired pizzas can deliver the same profitability that other quick serve concepts like Chipotle has.

“We love pizza,” Shriver, California’s former first lady told Bloomberg. “My son and I are really excited to be in the pizza business. We love this concept.”

Blaze currently only has two locations, both in California -- one in Irvine and one in Pasadena -- but they are hoping to open 15 new shops throughout the country within the year, including stores in heavy-hitting pizza towns like Chicago and New York.

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The idea behind Blaze and its other customized quick serve concepts is to allow customers to choose their toppings at a bar similar to Chipotle or Subway, and then fast-fire the pies in 120 seconds. That's speedier than a Pizza Hut, mind you, but the quality of the ingredients claims to be much higher.

Of course, just like Sienfeld's Poppie's pizza debate, some purists might argue that these chains aren't even making real pies, because adding things like chicken and cucumbers to a pizza is somewhat sacrilegious. But whether you like it or not, this new trend in quick fired dough is on the rise.