California Pizza Kitchen closes in downtown SLO after 14 years. Here’s why

California Pizza Kitchen has officially has closed in downtown San Luis Obispo.

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The chain restaurant shut its doors at 876 Marsh St., Suite E, on July 14, according to a company spokesperson.

“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related lease challenges with our landlords, we can confirm that we have closed our CPK San Luis Obispo location,” the company said in a statement. “We have loved serving the San Luis Obispo, CA community and thank our guests and business neighbors for their patronage.”

The move to close the San Luis Obispo restaurant came before California Pizza Kitchen announced July 30 that it had filed for voluntary Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

“Prior to the filing, CPK closed some restaurants in the United States due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lease-related challenges with our landlords,” company CEO Jim Hyatt wrote on the company’s website. “We do not have plans to close any additional restaurants at this time.”

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California Pizza Kitchen first opened on Aug. 1, 2006, near Downtown Centre Cinemas. At the time, the restaurant employed 133 employees and seated 185 customers, according to a past Tribune article.

The former home of the restaurant, which spans roughly 6,000 square feet, is part of the San Luis Obispo Collection, a group of commercial buildings totaling 285,200 square feet in San Luis Obispo’s downtown.

The landlord, Jamestown LP, is a multi-billion dollar real estate company based in Atlanta with offices worldwide.

“CPK approached Jamestown for a modification to their lease which we were actively negotiating prior to the brand making the decision to close the store prior to their lease expiration,” said Therese Cron, Jamestown’s vice president of West Coast leasing. “While we’ve enjoyed our partnership with CPK over the past 10 years we are exploring all merchandising options for the 6,000 square-foot space.”

The San Luis Obispo restaurant was part of a national casual dining chain with locations in 32 states, as well as operations worldwide.

California Pizza Kitchen specializes in hand-tossed, hearth-baked pizzas with varieties including barbecue chicken and Thai chicken. The restaurant chain also offers ribeye, salmon, pastas, salads, soups and desserts such as Belgian chocolate souffle cake.

As of Thursday, California Pizza Kitchen signs remained posted at the former location of the San Luis Obispo restaurant, with CPK SLO designs and furniture still inside the commercial building.

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