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California Pizza Kitchen Will Unveil Revamp in Florida

Chief executive of California Pizza Kitchen G.J. Hart told attendees at a California restaurant conference that the chain will open only one new U.S. restaurant -- a prototype -- this year. And the location happens to be in Florida, reports Nation's Restaurant News. No word yet as to which city.

The prototype will apparently allow California Pizza Kitchen to "reclaim its position as the California pizza authority," said Hart. Sustainability, new media, and customer service are among the priorities for said prototype.

Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck introduced California-style pizza to the nation in the 1980s, back when people watched Miami Vice and listened to "We Are the World." The style was characterized by an individual-sized crust with ingredients less traditional than New York or Neapolitan-styles, such as a Greek pizza with goat cheese or the Jewish pizza with salmon, crème fraîche, capers, and dill. 

This style was well and good until California Pizza Kitchen bastardized the concept, introducing chicken as the primary pizza topping on pies featuring barbecue flavor, chipotle, and the California club.

The only thing worse than chicken on pizza is ranch dressing, popularized by college kids everywhere. At least this topping choice lies in one of two acceptable excuses: They don't know any better, or they're drunk. 

Unless a person harbors a fetish for springy, flavorless rubber bands, chicken on pizza is never acceptable. If one is really looking for a chicken dinner, no utensils required, chicken to eat with one's hands is readily available at Popeyes and even Burger King. 

Herein lies the means by which California Pizza Kitchen can save itself: by defecting from chicken pizzas altogether. It's not a bad idea to scratch off the menu any pizza with barbecue sauce, pulled pork, and "Thai" pizza too.  

If the chain refuses to hear this, at least it could be mindful of sourcing as opposed to using breast meat from caged chickens pumped full of antibiotics. It works for Chipotle

The restaurant might also consider embracing local ingredients. At the Cali-Florida Pizza Kitchen, this could mean -- yes, pineapple, since it's in season -- local avocado or Florida tomatoes for which workers are actually paid a living wage.

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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart

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