This Was The Original Idea For California Pizza Kitchen's Signature Dish

California Pizza Kitchen is an institution by itself. According to the brand's website, it underwent a rapid expansion after it first opened its doors in 1985. The restaurant is now present in over 30 states, and also has an international presence. 

California Pizza Kitchen has reached out to customers in other ways too. "You'll also find us bringing smiles to the pizza aisle in your grocer's freezer, taking the edge off travel fatigue in major airports all over the world, feeding eager fans at sports stadiums and students on college campuses," they proclaimed.

What makes the chain even more appealing is the fact that it's always open to experimentation. According to Thrillist, one of its restaurants has a special secret kitchen where chefs work on new recipes with "seasonal ingredients." But what you may not know about California Pizza Kitchen, no matter how much you love the brand, is that its founders didn't intend to make pizza their star dish.

It was a sudden decision

This may feel far-fetched but it's true: California Pizza Kitchen's Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield revealed to the The Wall Street Journal that they weren't thinking about pizza when they first came up with the concept — they wanted to focus on the wonders of pasta instead. What changed? Well, the pair was at an eatery in California and noticed that nearly half of the diners at the venue were grabbing slices of pizza.

The worst part was that it wasn't even good pizza. It bothered the men quite a bit and they told themselves, "Let's scrap the pasta and make it pizza." This is how California Pizza Kitchen ended up featuring pizzas in their restaurants. 

California Pizza Kitchen did one thing differently, though: They ended up ditching electric ovens and used an open-hearth oven to cook their pizzas instead. Of course, pasta was always available too. But pizza has always been the brand's signature dish.