California Pizza Kitchen has closed its doors at Smith Haven Mall.
Having operated on the west side of the mall for over a decade, CPK closed its Lake Grove location this month. It is unclear what will be taking over the space; check back with greaterlongisland.com for updates.
The CPK team left the following message on its answering machine this week: “Our Smith Haven location has closed. We’ve loved serving the Lake Grove community and thank you for your patronage.”
Following closures at Smith Haven Mall this year and Westbury Plaza in 2019, the only remaining CPK location on Long Island is at the Walt Whitman Shops in South Huntington.
Known as the home of the “original BBQ Chicken Pizza,” California Pizza Kitchen is a global brand with nearly 200 locations worldwide. The fast-casual restaurant chain, founded in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 1985, serves up a variety of pizzas, salads, pastas, sandwiches, among other items.
A company restructuring
The company faced challenging times during the pandemic, declaring for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closing 31 stores. In December of 2022, the company appointed Jeff Warne, the former CEO of Perkins Restaurant & Bakery and Marie Callender’s, as the new CEO of CPK. Under new leadership, the company has set a plan for a comeback.
“You have to divorce the strong brand and its balance sheet,” Warne told Forbes in May. “We are a great brand with a bad balance sheet. It was overleveraged.”
As part of Warne’s plan, the company is reaching a new target audience beyond the U.S., recently opening the first location in Canada, Chile, Costa Rica and two in India. According to Forbes, the company is eyeing expansion soon to Guam and Hong Kong.
In April, Warne also announced a new re-franchising program, inviting experienced multi-unit restaurant operators to acquire existing CPK locations in select U.S. markets as part of the brand’s strategic expansion.
Top: Exterior of the old California Pizza Kitchen location at Smith Haven Mall. (Credit: Google Maps)