California Pizza Kitchen, known within the food industry as CPK, is a casual dining restaurant chain that specializes in California-style pizza. The restaurant was started in 1985 by attorneys Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax in Beverly Hills, California, United States.
CPK is essentially a mass-market offshoot of Wolfgang Puck's Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills (which in turn was inspired by the Chez Panisse cafe in Berkeley, California). In 1985 the restaurant hired Spago's founding pizza chef, Ed LaDou, to design its menu, and used a similar concept involving an open kitchen centered around a wood-burning pizza oven. It is credited with spreading this once-exclusive California gourmet pizza trend throughout the United States and, later, the world.
The chain is widely known for its innovative non traditional pizzas, such as the "Original BBQ Chicken Pizza", BLT, Thai Chicken, and Jamaican Jerk Chicken pizzas. They also serve various kinds of pasta, salads, and desserts. They have an extensive children's menu for children ages 10 and under which includes a variety of different pizzas, pastas, salad, and chicken.
The chain has over 230 locations in 32 US states and nine other countries, including 26 California Pizza Kitchen ASAP kiosks designed to serve passengers at airports and shopping malls. The company has also licensed its name to Kraft Foods to distribute a line of premium frozen pizzas.