CPK’s Move to Strengthen Dinner Business

08/24/09 at 01:53 PM

One of the best investments a restaurateur can make in today's market is to reconcept or remodel an existing restaurant. A design overhaul of an existing concept can give it new life, while updating an already successful concept unlocks its full potential. Given the fact that reconcepting is such a timely topic these days, Infinite Ideas will be focusing on a series of Aria Group Architects' reconcepting projects.

CPK San Luis Obispo: Exterior
Click to see before & after photos


In 1992 California Pizza Kitchen first hired Aria Group Architects, Inc. to design their Oak Brook Center location in Oak Brook, Illinois.  This early-era CPK concept incorporated glazed black and white tiles, polished stainless steel, and bright yellow accents—a style developed in California as a fresh, clean look perfect for promoting lunch business. In 2003 California Pizza Kitchen asked Aria Group to update their look with a new contemporary prototype design to enhance the restaurant's expanded dinner menu, bar selection, and featured wines. As a result, CPK’s distinctive pastas, soups, salads—and of course their famous pizzas—are now enjoyed in a modern, inviting atmosphere composed of rich colors and natural materials. These include deep wood tones, rugged stone, and polished granite, all strategically lit with warm, comfortable lighting.

CPK Wine Display, Part of the New Prototype
Click to see enlarged images

At the heart of CPK's rejuvenated concept is still their trademark pizza oven, now clad in vibrant yellow glass tile and dramatically illuminated. The modernized oven, with its fire-lit hearth producing mouthwatering aromas, is a superb centerpiece for CPK's new wood and polished granite bar. The bar wraps the exhibition cooking area and provides the ideal setting for patrons to enjoy the food, the wine, the extensive cocktail options, or to watch the game on TV.  A grand, internally glowing glass wine cabinet, custom designed and framed with millwork and stone at the host area, displays CPK's diverse wine selection. This creates a bold and distinguished entry to their reconcepted restaurants as well as their new locations.

As of 2009, California Pizza Kitchen, now established as "a leader in authentic California-style cuisine," has already taken advantage of remodeling most of its 250-plus locations, and with the environment in mind as well as operational cost savings, has recently implemented more sustainable design elements into their construction.  Over the last six years, CPK's updating program has proven consistently to be a key strategy in cultivating the business's thriving success both nationally and abroad.

Aria Group Architects, Inc. is a full service, 48 person architectural and interior design firm. For more information about Aria Group, go to www.ariainc.com or call (708) 445-8400.