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With the opening, the Los Angeles-based company revealed a planned rollout of new menu items, including flatbreads and upgraded artisan-style pizzas. And by mid-August, all locations will return to hand-tossed pizzas after years of serving pies made from mechanically pressed dough.

Last year, the company streamlined its core menu, removing about 25 items from the 100 on the lineup. A renewed focus on pizza is key to the menu revamp.

With the redesign, the pizza bars are more prominent, allowing guests to sit at the counter and watch chefs stretch and toss the dough before baking.

The crust recipe has been reworked, said Brian Sullivan, CPK’s senior vice president of culinary innovation. “The new dough is slightly less sweet and more light, crispy and airy,” he said.

Guests can choose between traditional, thin crust and a honey-whole wheat version. Soon, CPK will offer a celiac-safe gluten-free crust, he said.

In addition to new seasonal pizzas, like one with bacon and Brussels sprouts, existing pizzas are getting an upgrade.

The new-and-improved pepperoni, for example, will include two types of meat — a thin, hand-torn Caprese-style, along with a thicker-cut traditional version — both fresh and traditional mozzarella, and a sprinkle of organic dried Greek oregano. Guests can request a drizzle of white truffle oil for $1.50 more.

Hart said the chain is also testing a new lobster pizza. “We’re doing lots of things around pizza to get out front and creative,” he said.

In addition to the menu changes, CPK has switched to heavier flatware and higher-end wine glasses, along with “tree-free” napkins made from sugar cane — all elements that elevate the experience, said Hart. “We’ve always done a great job round food, but we want to step it up a bit,” he said.

The chain also launched a new loyalty program in April with a mobile app that lets guests check in at the restaurant, earn rewards and check account balances. Hart said the company will test a mobile payment system and other technologies.

The chain is developing a comprehensive marketing plan to communicate the changes, but Hart isn’t ready to start bragging just yet.

“We want to have done some of this before we start talking about it,” Hart said. “With this many restaurants and this much change, it takes a while to get it done. You don’t want to disappoint people by thinking they’re coming into a new look when it’s the existing look.”

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout