California Pizza Kitchen closes at Stamford mall

Photo of Paul Schott

STAMFORD — California Pizza Kitchen closed its restaurant at the Stamford Town Center on Sunday, highlighting the ongoing turnover at the mall’s dining row.

The company said it was shutting down the eatery because it was not renewing its lease. CPK had operated for about a decade at 230 Tresser Blvd.

“We are sad to confirm the last day of business at our Stamford restaurant will be Jan. 14, as our lease term has ended,” a company spokeswoman said in an email last Friday. “We have loved serving the Stamford community and thank our guests for their patronage over the last 10 years. We look forward to serving you at our nearby Scarsdale, N.Y., restaurant and at our other CPK locations across the country soon.”

The spokeswoman did not give additional information on the closing. Messages left for the mall’s owner, Taubman Centers, were not returned.

California Pizza Kitchen — headquartered in Playa Vista, Calif., and owned by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital — operates more than 250 restaurants in more than 30 states and 11 countries, according to its website. In Connecticut, it also runs establishments at Westfarms Mall in Farmington and Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard.

The company continues to project an optimistic outlook on social media. In a recent tweet, it asked its approximately 36,800 Twitter followers to pick their “fiery fave” on the CPK menu, in a matchup of charred shishito peppers and spicy buffalo cauliflower.

The mall’s restaurant row has seen a number of changes in recent years.

Next door to California Pizza Kitchen, another pizza chain, Pieology, opened last November. Despite being neighbors, Stamford Pieology’s franchisees said they were not trying to compete with California Pizza Kitchen.

“California Pizza Kitchen is a sit-down, traditional restaurant. We are a fast-casual chain,” Pieology’s Regal Patel said in a recent interview. “It’s a completely different concept; they cater to completely different demographics.”

In August, a Rascal Flatts restaurant debuted in the restaurant row, in the same space as a Mitchell’s Fish Market that had closed in 2014.

In October 2016, The Cheesecake Factory opened at the mall. It replaced a P.F. Chang’s restaurant, which had closed about six months earlier.

Around the time of Cheesecake’s opening, fast-casual chain Cosi closed its restaurant in the spot now occupied by Pieology.

The Capital Grille, Kona Grill and Plan B Burger Bar comprise the other tenants in the dining hub.

The restaurant row was created in 2007, with the aim of giving the mall a more dynamic dining scene and more welcoming facade. The shopping center had long faced criticism for having an austere, windowless exterior.

A few blocks away stand restaurant corridors on Main Street, West Park Place, Summer Street, Atlantic Street and Bedford Street. Those thoroughfares have also seen high turnover among their dining tenants in recent years.; 203-964-2236; Twitter: @paulschott