California Pizza Kitchen Has Influenced Pizza Trends For More Than 30 Years

Nothing beats an original. Just ask California Pizza Kitchen. CPK, they’re more affectionately known as, has shown modesty when it comes to the popularity of its line of hand-tossed pizzas, though it has come to our attention recently, that there’s an unspoken reality of CPK being the creator of the Original Barbecue Chicken Pizza — a menu item that has steadily influenced pizza trends since 1985.


We got a hold of an original CPK menu, which includes the beloved barbecue chicken pizza, an item that hasn’t left the menu since.


Today, food trends live and die through social media, as we’ve seen with Starbucks and Internet chef-based recipes. However, before the digital age, trends were spread by word of mouth, pricey advertising, and crafty marketing.

It may seem pointless to discover the origin of the barbecue chicken pizza, but after some investigation, it’s clear to see that CPK’s clandestine influence has encouraged — or forced — almost every other corporate pizza chain to replicate the original barbecue chicken pizza.

While the recreation of the barbecue chicken pizza by Dominos, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Stone Fire Grill and countless others is not as heinous as what Burger King did to the Vulgar Chef — it’s more of a hat tip — it’s important to note.

In the age of replication, as copy and pasting becomes second nature, discovering the origin of an idea provides inspiration and illustrates how far concepts can go by word of mouth and human interaction; life then imitates a dinner table, open to the market place of ideas.

Ironically, none of the other corporate pizza chains will own up to pillaging a damn good pizza recipe, but everyone knows, regardless if you knew in the back of your head, were old enough to visit CPK’s original location, or just had an idea that CPK’s barbecues chicken pizza is on another level.

Now you know.

By Evan Lancaster

A journalist focusing on news and anything that's trending. Insists that cherry flavoring makes any soft drink better. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram at @ThatsThatFuego.

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