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CPK joins the SCV restaurant scene

Pizza kitchen will donate all revenue from Monday to Child & Family Center

Posted: May 29, 2009 8:50 p.m.
Updated: May 30, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Doug Djordjevic, left, regional director, Marcie Book, senior general manager, and Larry Flax , co-founder of California Pizza Kitchen, stand in front of the newly opened Valencia restaurant's pizza oven.


Residents of the Santa Clarita Valley have long lusted after a Nordstrom and a California Pizza Kitchen to call their own. With the May 25 opening of California Pizza Kitchen #208 in the Bridgeport Marketplace Center in Valencia, only Nordstrom has eluded the SCV’s grasp.

“We’ve been looking at Valencia for a long time and we were going to go in at the Valencia Town Center, where we spent a lot of development time and money — but it turned out we couldn’t get approval,” said Larry Flax, California Pizza Kitchen co-founder.

Flax attended Sunday’s invitation-only “soft opening” of the Valencia restaurant.

“I always liked this location, so I was glad when we came back to this location,” Flax said. “In our concept, we do a lot of take-out and curbside, so this location is very good for us —  we have all that population just minutes away, rather than in the mall area.”

Jason Crawford, marketing and economic development manager of the city of Santa Clarita, said the newly opened California Pizza Kitchen is the latest restaurant to open in the SCV, home to nearly 500 restaurants.

Echoing the sentiments of SCV residents, Crawford said he was happy to see the restaurant open its doors.

And he noted, “Restaurants in the SCV generate close to $2,800,000 in sales tax annually.”

“It is great to have California Pizza Kitchen open here in Santa Clarita — they have been high on the list of restaurants that our residents have been asking for and we are confident they will be very successful here,” Crawford said.

The chain, famous for its signature barbecue chicken pizza, was founded in 1985 in Beverly Hills by attorneys Flax and Rick Rosenfield. The restaurant features a menu of hearth-baked pizzas. Many include a twist on traditional pizza fare. In addition to the “original BBQ chicken” pizza, the chain offers Jamaican jerk chicken, California club, shrimp scampi and carne asada pizzas.

In addition to the pizza experience, which also includes thin-crust pizzas, the menu includes appetizers, soups, salads, pastas, specialties such as chicken piccata and blue crab cakes, focaccia sandwiches and desserts. Beer, wine and a full bar are also available.

Flax also credited Marcie Book, senior general manager for the Valencia location, with pushing to open a California Pizza Kitchen in the SCV.

“I started as a server with CPK in San Diego, where I went to college,” said Book. “I grew up in Valencia and live here, so I always wanted to be able to work at a CPK here. When this restaurant was opening I requested to work here.”

Book said her parents, who still live in Valencia, also nagged her to get a restaurant open in the SCV.

Flax said being involved in the community is a large part of the California Pizza Kitchen philosophy.

“We do a lot of school tours, we become very involved in the community. Everybody here lives here, we make sure we are part of the fabric of the community,” he said.

As part of the restaurant’s community involvement, California Pizza Kitchen has already developed a relationship with the Child & Family Center.

“Child & Family Center had hoped to have California Pizza Kitchen as a participant in Taste of the Town, but unfortunately they were not up and running at the beginning of May,” said Lois Bauccio, president and executive director of the Child & Family Center

“Instead, CPK approached the center with an invitation to be the beneficiary of their on-going policy to support a local nonprofit during their preview and opening days. CPK is to be commended for their visionary and generous support of community needs wherever their stores are established,” Bauccio said.

California Pizza Kitchen will donate 100 percent of dine-in pizza sales revenue Monday, to the Child & Family Center on Monday.

Flax said the restaurant also thrives on its family-friendly attitude.

“The service is family orientated and really friendly,” he said. “We treat kids great. We treat them as customers, not just as kids.”

California Pizza Kitchen, Bridgeport Marketplace, 24061 Newhall Ranch Road, Valencia. (661) 259-2082. Info:



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