De-Chained: California Pizza Kitchen Gets A Makeover

It’s been 30 years since California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) opened the doors of its first restaurant located on Beverly Drive. Aside from the pricier fare at Spago, it was the first mainstream restaurant to offer affordable, gourmet pizza with an array of toppings. Especially popular was the barbecue chicken pizza, which unknown to many has a big 818 connection: It […]

It’s been 30 years since California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) opened the doors of its first restaurant located on Beverly Drive. Aside from the pricier fare at Spago, it was the first mainstream restaurant to offer affordable, gourmet pizza with an array of toppings. Especially popular was the barbecue chicken pizza, which unknown to many has a big 818 connection: It was created by the late Ed LaDou (Studio City’s Caioti).

Currently CPK is in the process of what they are calling “de-chaining”—getting away from their sleek, conceptualized, cookie-cutter “chain” look. Burbank is among the first 18 in the country that have been remodeled. Other 818 locations set for a new look are Thousand Oaks and Northridge (mid-April) and Studio City and Tarzana (first week in May). So far Encino is not in the mix.

The redesign uses sustainable materials, such as reclaimed wood, natural stone, “tree-free” paper products and a living herb garden. Artwork featuring local landmarks will give each restaurant its own unique personality.

With the new design comes a “reimagined” menu that includes grilled rib eye and roasted halibut (on a cedar plank with butternut squash, farro and grilled asparagus). Seasonally-inspired dishes include sunny-side up bacon and potato pizza, Brussels sprouts and bacon flatbread, harvest kale salad and roasted garlic chicken. Pizzas will all be hand-tossed as they were when CPK first opened (instead of machine-made). 

Great deal tip: “lunch duos”—choose any two options from a selection of 7” pizzas, salads, half-sandwiches (with the option to order a full-size) and soups ($8.95 to $10.95).

There is also a new beverage menu featuring a wide selection of handcrafted cocktails made with fresh juices, fruits, purées and herbs ($7.99 to $10.89). Among the most interesting: California Roots—made with Svedka vodka, fresh avocado and mint, fresh Agave Sour with a fennel salt rim.

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