PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Brian Sullivan, the head chef at California Pizza Kitchen at Market Street in Lynnfield, tosses pizza dough during their soft opening on Wednesday.
BY BILL BROTHERTON
LYNNFIELD — When California Pizza Kitchen was hunting for a site for its first “Next Chapter” restaurant in Massachusetts, it became obvious that Market Street was the perfect spot.
“We looked at a lot of sites, hundreds, in the Boston area,” said G.J. Hart, CPK’s executive chairman about the 680,000-square-foot open air mall at Routes 128 and 95. “This was far and away the best for us.”
Wednesday night, Hart was in town to show off the new sleek, modern, open-concept eatery and introduce the reimagined “Next Chapter” menu, which includes halibut, ribeye steak, salmon and more. Longtime fans will be happy to know that the beyond-awesome BBQ Chicken Pizza remains. Also in tow were Brian Sullivan, senior vice president of Culinary Innovation, and Hart’s longtime friend Jim Koch, founder of the Samuel Adams beer empire.
Hart, who guided Texas Roadhouse to nationwide success before joining CPK in 2011, said California Pizza Kitchen in the mid ’80s was the first to offer Sam Adams Lager in all of his restaurants.
Koch joked that back then a seven-course meal was a pizza and a six pack. Attendees Wednesday enjoyed seven new menu items that were paired with various Sam Adams brews. A scrumptious Wild Mushroom Pizza was paired with Sam Adams Stony Brook Red ale; a Fire-Grilled Ribeye with Boston Lager and the too-yummy-for-words Salted Caramel Pudding dessert with Cherry Wheat beer.
Competition for diners’ dollars is stiff at MarketStreet. Davio’s, Gaslight, Legal C Bar, Temazcal, Wahlburgers, Yard House and other eateries are established there.
Still, Hart said he is confident CPK will succeed.
“The Next Chapter concept is much more than pizza and salad,” he said. “The new look has much more of an open, California feel.”
The new restaurant opens on Monday.