CPK Gets A New Look & Taste

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Michael D. Spencer 2016

It’s been 30 years since California Pizza Kitchen opened their inaugural Beverly Hills location and now they are revamping their look, feel, and taste to reflect modern trends.

The new CPK is housed in an airy, loft-style space with blossoming herbs for functional decoration and reclaimed wood furnishings. The hearth oven is positioned at the helm of their exhibition kitchen, the bar offers communal seating at a crisp white counter, and as CPK’s lookbook explains, tables are “set with wine glasses to invite guests into the dining experience.” Menu and beverage items are also being updated with a focus on seasonality.

“We’re more than pizza, pasta, and salad,” said G.J. Hart, CPK’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We opened the menu up with more small plates and items like a grilled ribeye steak with pinot noir sea salt and cedar plank salmon.”

PinotNoirSalt

Along with beverages like seasonal sangrias and the California Roots, a refreshing mix of pureed avocado and lime with Svedka vodka, CPK continues its relationship with Samuel Adams.

CaliforniaRoots

Jim Koch, founder and owner the Boston Beer Company which makes Samuel Adams, was on hand earlier this week to celebrate California Pizza Kitchen’s (CPK) first updated restaurant in Massachusetts, at MarketStreet, in Lynnfield.

“Back when we started Sam Adams, in 1984, pizza and beer was a joke,” Koch said. “Beer pairing was just a pizza and a six pack. Beer was cold, fizzy, in a can, and you could crush it against your forehead.”

While Koch and his team have diversified the beer brewing process he said, “California Pizza Kitchen revolutionized what you can put on a pizza.”

“I love using pizza as a canvas,” said Brian Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Culinary Innovation for California Pizza Kitchen whose latest pizza additions are the Bianco Flatbread with whipped truffle cream, gorgonzola, mozzarella, and fresh sage, and the Mupesa Pizza with cremini mushrooms, piquant pepperoni, spicy sausage, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant Greek oregano.

“The next chapter for us, menu-wise, is about getting back to our heritage and using the best ingredients we can get our hands on,” said Brian Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Culinary Innovation for California Pizza Kitchen, who started with the company in 1988. “We’re not pigeonholed to one style. We can do it all.”

Sullivan is rounding out the menu with a Quinoa and Arugula Salad that has sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, toasted pine nuts, Feta cheese, and a Champagne vinaigrette, a Hearth-Roasted Halibut that’s cooked on a cedar plank in the pizza oven and served with grilled asparagus and Caramelized Squash Farro, and he’s developing a fried cauliflower with sriracha-lime buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, and a salad of julienned celery.

California Pizza Kitchen's new Hearth-Roasted Halibut entree.
California Pizza Kitchen’s new Hearth-Roasted Halibut entree.

Koch admittedly likes beer more than wine. He even likened making wine to the missionary position while he said a beer brewer, “has the kama sutra. If you imagine it, you can do it.”

“We’ve been proud to be associated with California Pizza Kitchen, not only with our beer, but also spiritually,” Koch said. “We’re not going to respect tradition. We’re going to innovate.”

California Pizza Kitchen’s new restaurant is located at 1150 Market Street, Lynnfield, and opens to the public on Monday.