California Pizza Kitchen has always offered delicious pizzas and salads but they have a put a twist on things this year. I visited the CPK at The Shops at Willow Bend to see what was new in store for this restaurant and let me tell you, they are moving in the right direction. That particular location is the only California Pizza Kitchen in all of Texas to get this make over and it looks amazing. Upon entering the restaurant, you are greeted by the hostess and behind her is a huge hanging area full for fresh herbs. This sets the mood for the entire restaurant. The interior is full of reclaimed wood and steel. You can view the kitchen from almost anywhere in the restaurant and watch your chef hand toss your pizza dough, as well as make your pizza.
I experienced California Pizza Kitchen like I had never experienced it before. The wait staff were more than helpful, they sat and talked with us at our table, they were personal. Not that they weren’t personable before, but it was different. They treated you like a good friend rather than another customer that they HAD to serve. For starters we wanted to try their new flat breads that were recently added to the menu. We enjoyed the Spicy Fennel Sausage + Poblano featuring torn sausage, fresh Mozzarella, fire-roasted chilies and wild Greek oregano with spicy marinara.
Notice that the flatbread doesn’t look perfect. They are no longer going for the perfect look, there isn’t a certain amount of poblanos or sausage to that goes on this flatbread. All of their pizzas and flatbreads are this way now. Don’t expect it to look perfect but just to taste perfect. This flatbread was delicious and gone in .5 seconds.
We obviously wanted to eat pizza, so we opted for the Sicilian Pizza. Our pizza had spicy marinara, Italian sausage, spicy Capicola Ham, salami, mozzarella, shaved Parmesan, basil and oregano. The amount of flavor on our pizza was perfect, there was so much to taste but they all went together perfectly. I loved the hand-tossed dough and that the kitchen is open so you can see everything going on.
To say the pizza was lacking flavor would be a complete lie. It might be my favorite pizza from CPK because of the fresh and seasonal ingredients used. During our visit, our waitress mentioned their signature cocktail drinks that were made with all fresh ingredients and after looking at the menu, I knew I had to give them a try.
Each one of the signature cocktails were made individually and used only fresh ingredients. My favorite was the blueberry ginger smash, surprisingly. I’m not a whiskey fan but it blended perfectly with the agave nectar and blueberries. Unfortunately, not all California Pizza Kitchen have these signature drinks available. If you are in need on one of these delicious drinks, head over to the CPK at Willow Bend.
No meal is complete without dessert and when I saw they had butter cake, I was sold. Their description for Butter Cake was “Trust us. Just try it” or something to that extent so I knew it had to be good.
Just when I thought that I couldn’t eat anymore, I was proven wrong. I was more than full from eating so much at dinner and once dessert came around I didn’t want anything to do with it. My waitress insisted that we try to Butter Cake, so why not? Once it arrived to the table, I took a small spoonful just to give it a taste. Next thing you know I was going back for a bigger spoonful. Needless to say, we ate the butter cake in an embarrassing amount of time. This is definitely a must try.
I recommend you head to the Willow Bend California Pizza Kitchen to experience their new look and see where they are taking all of their restaurants in the future. This year they will serve over 15 million pizzas to more than 43 million guests. Will you be one of those people?