The fast-casual pizza game now has its own version of the Big 3. NBA superstar Dwyane Wade has joined the team at 800° Woodfired Kitchen. Former Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James signed an endorsement deal with Blaze fast-Fire’d Pizza in October 2015 and has been an investor since 2012. Some reports say James put less than $1 million into the franchise in 2012 and now holds a stake worth at least $35 million. This past October, Golden State Warriors’ star Kevin Durant announced he was buying into Pieology.
Wade will help propel the brand’s expansion nationally and globally, 800° said. He committed to becoming a partner on a brand level internationally and locally as a franchise partner.
“I am both humbled and excited that Dwyane has chosen to partner with 800° Woodfired Kitchen,” said Chef Anthony Carron, founder of 800° Woodfired Kitchen, in a statement. “Dwyane and I connected instantly over our shared love for fresh and thoughtfully prepared food, which is what this concept is all about. I admire Dwyane’s commitment to aligning himself with brands he is passionate about, and know with our joint vision and enthusiasm, 800° Woodfired Kitchen will continue to be made accessible to communities around the world.”
Wade isn’t alone in the venture. He’s joining forces with Heat teammate Udonis Haslem as part of Forty-Three, a joint company named after their respective jersey numbers. Up first will be bringing the pizza concept to South Florida.
“When I first discovered 800° Woodfired Kitchen I was impressed by the inviting atmosphere and the fact that its menu offered something for everyone,” Wade said in a statement. “As a professional athlete, I understand the importance of eating well. 800° Woodfired Kitchen raises the culinary bar by offering guests a unique dining experience with high-quality ingredients and delicious food in a relaxed setting. I’m excited to partner with a growing company as they continue to expand with new locations around the world and introduce this concept to wider audiences.”
The brand and its legacy concept, 800 Degrees Pizzeria, operate stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Japan, Dubai, the UAE, and Doha, Qatar. Locations in Seoul, South Korea, as well as additional domestic group is on the books. There are currently seven U.S. restaurants (six in California), according to its website.
The chain uses specially designed woodfired stone hearth pizza ovens and woodfired rotisseries that burn fragrant woods, imparting a unique, subtle, smoky taste to anything cooked within them.