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Call us control freaks, but we have a thing for well-balanced pizza toppings. So what if you love artichokes, olives and pineapples--do they really belong on the same pie? We think not.

At Blaze Pizza, a just-opened casual joint in Lakeview, you can prove your ingredient expertise by choosing your own flavor combinations, thanks to a move-down-the-line ordering system that puts you in charge of the final product. 

You’ll start with a personal-sized thin crust pie (a gluten-free crust is also available), then pick one of six sauces (try the pesto drizzle). Next, point out the cheeses (standard mozzarella, or special options like goat, ricotta and vegan), veggies (eat your spinach!) and meats (from smoked ham to crumbled meatballs) you want to devour.

At the end of the line, your masterpiece slides into a fast-fire oven that bakes it in 180 seconds flat--crusty dough bubbles, oozing cheese and all. 

We loved our own genius combination of spicy red sauce, bacon, mushrooms, spinach and sautéed onions, but if you’d rather leave the work to the pros, there’s also a list of signature pies. (We’ll try the BBQ chicken next time; pizzas cost about $7.)

Who knows--maybe “pizza artist” is your new calling.

Blaze Pizza, 953 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-348-6255 or

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