Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – California Pizza Kitchen, Our Favorite Eatery

We’ve enjoyed the delicious Southwestern cuisine of the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant since 1995 and have many awesome memories. The food and ambience have remained consistently excellent. Changes have been made to the menu that have not always been to our liking, but we plan to support this terrific hot-spot as long as it remains open in New York City.

During the first week of my employment at Lighthouse International, a supervisor was set to move to California with his family. To celebrate, our staff took him to what was then a relatively new restaurant. It was new to me anyway. I was completely enthralled with the unique menu and open environment and could barely wait to brag about my new find. We’ve since celebrated many an occasion there. When I was asked where Maria would like to go when she was laid off from her medical transcription job, I promptly responded that the get-together must be at CPK. We’ve since taken many friends there, celebrated several birthdays, met there after performances and gone there to relax after a long week. Acquainted with several staff members, they know to bring a Braille menu to our table. In fact, Maria has proofread many a menu, pronouncing the latest version thinner but acceptable.

And speaking of a thinner menu, this is one aspect of CPK that has driven me bonkers! Thanks to their corporate entity, the menu is in constant flux. We recently learned that the company is doing well but I tell you I’ve been sorely disappointed over the years as I’ve attempted to order favorite dishes and drinks that have been either replaced or discontinued. Frustrated from months of changes, I once made such a fuss that the manager came to our table to console me. The latest incident came as we were thwarted in our efforts to order their delicious pumpkin cheesecake, as it was sold out nationwide.

The most heartbreaking change was the closing of the CPK near Lighthouse International. This was the one we visited the most. Like so many establishments here in NYC, the landlord was demanding an exorbitant amount of rent for the sought-after Manhattan space and the management of CPK refused to pay. I’ll never forget the date as it coincided with that of our first cabaret show. The bright side is that there is a CPK conveniently located near my job and it’s become our new home.

Last week we were given a CPK points card. Our friendly server read the numbers, which I recorded. I’ll be visiting the website to investigate its accessibility.

I’m keeping my tastebuds crossed as word is that the scrumptious pumpkin cheesecake might return to the menu very soon.

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