Aug. 15 has been declared by California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) as National Pizza Day. With every order of regular or thin-crust pizza, pizza lovers can savor another round of pizza free from among CPK’s best-selling choices: BBQ Chicken Pizza, Pepperoni, Five Cheese and Fresh Tomato, Hawaiian Bacon Pizza or Traditional Cheese.
The day marks Global Restaurant Concepts Inc.’s (GRCI) opening of the first CPK restaurant in the Philippines 15 years ago.
“The National Pizza Day is our way of reclaiming our pizza authority,” says Archie Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of GRCI. “Pizza is CPK’s heart and soul. For the past 15 years, we’ve served innovative pizzas that have set the bar high, putting a unique twist on flavors that have resonated with our guests. In a way, we’ve inspired others in the pizza industry to follow suit.”
GRCI is the first company to operate a CPK restaurant outside the United States. It’s found in 250 locations across the US and in 11 countries. In the Philippines, it has seven branches in Metro Manila.
“We’ve been around for so long and I think we’ve already proven ourselves in the industry,” says Rodriguez, who founded the business along with his business partners Manuel Zubiri and Griffith Go.
“CPK came at a time when other brands had already established their hold on the Philippine market. But, what separated us from the rest was the kind of California-style cuisine and American family dining concept that we initiated, and it was instantly accepted by our upscale market.”
Filipino diners have come to enjoy CPK’s fresh hearth-baked creations, especially the Adobo Pizza and Peking Duck Pizza. CPK uses only the freshest ingredients, including seafood and pasta, says Rodriguez. All pizzas are made to order—no precooked or preheated food.
“With the National Pizza Day, it’s also our perfect way of reintroducing ourselves and coming up with more pizzas that stand above the rest. The pizza day is not even being done in the US. It’s the first in the Philippines.”
CPK features new dishes that are exclusively available in the Philippines for now, says Rodriguez.
Among the new menu additions that will debut in time for National Pizza Day are Prosciutto Pizza, made with Italian prosciutto with fresh arugula, mozzarella, shaved parmesan and sliced tomatoes and served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side; and Vegetarian Pizza, a thin-crust pizza with marinara sauce and mozzarella topped with grilled eggplant, fresh button mushrooms, red onion, roasted corn, broccoli, goat cheese and pine nuts.
For pastas, try Lasagna Milanese, lasagna layered with bolognese meat sauce, crumbled Italian sausage, button mushrooms, béchamel and melted ricotta topped with fresh basil and served with foccacia bread sticks; Seafood Pomodoro with Tagliatelle Nero, black pasta with tomato basil and cream sauce, seafood medley, white mushroom and grated parmesan cheese; and Mu Shu Chicken Calzone, garlic chicken with mozzarella, wild mushroom, bean sprout, hoisin ginger sauce, sesame oil and slivered scallions and served with fried wontons and hoisin sauce.
Also, not to be missed are the super crispy lumpia-like Fried Mozzarella Sticks, and open-faced Quesadilla with Velveeta cheese, diced garlic chicken, black beans and fried wanton.
The Quesadilla and Mozzarella Sticks are ideally accompanied by CPK’s Fruit Sangria, a concoction of chardonnay, mango and orange juices with slices of grapes, green apples and oranges.
Dessert comes in the form of pizza, too. S’mores Pizza is thin-crust dough showered with bits of chocolates, marshmallows and cinnamon, and topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
“They are all amazing global-inspired dishes with a California twist and yet 100-percent Filipino-made and conceptualized,” says Rodriguez. “Being ‘Californian’ is not about a place; it’s a mind-set. We have a California approach to cooking and dining. This is epitomized by interesting and uncomplicated pairings, in terms of flavors, dishes and beverages.”
Celebrate National Pizza Day at CPK restaurants in Glorietta 3, Alabang Town Center, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Greenhills Promenade, TriNoma, Power Plant Mall and Greenbelt 5.