Edmonton will be the company's first destination under the leadership of long-time Alberta restaurateur Samira Shariff

California Pizza Kitchen is expanding into Canada.

The company announced Wednesday it will be bringing its signature California-style pizzas, pastas, salads and more to Canada for the first time with Edmonton its first destination.

The location will open in the coming months under the leadership of long-time Alberta restaurateur Samira Shariff.

The company said Edmonton will be the first of five locations planned in Alberta over the next eight years.

As part of its accelerated global growth focus, CPK intends to further expand in Canada, including to Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario,” said the company in a news release.

California Pizza Kitchen was founded in Beverly Hills, Calif. in 1985.

“At CPK, we take great pride in sharing our passion for California-style pizza, fresh and creative ingredients and best-in-class hospitality with our guests around the world,” said Jim Hyatt, CEO of CPK, in a statement. “We’ve had our sights set on expanding into Canada for many years now, to bring CPK a little closer to home for all of our Canadian guests who’ve become loyal regulars at so many of our U.S. locations, whether joining us on vacation or business travel. Now, we’re confident we have the right, deeply experienced partner in Samira Shariff to spearhead our entry into the market.”

Samira Shariff brings nearly 40 years of experience building successful restaurant brands in Alberta as a multi-unit franchise owner and operator in Edmonton. Her son Naheed brings more than 25 years of experience in restaurant franchising and will serve as CEO of CPK’s Alberta footprint.

“On behalf of Samira and our team, we couldn’t be more excited and proud to be partnering with California Pizza Kitchen as their first franchisee to bring the brand to Canada,” said Naheed Shariff. “Every time we’ve visited the U.S. over the years, our family has always made a point of eating at CPK. What we admire about the brand is its continuous evolution, forward thinking with modern tastes, from experimenting with new flavors and ingredients, to being leaders in better-for-you options, such as gluten-free and veggie-based Cauliflower Pizza Crust. We think CPK’s creative California vibe and innovative menu will resonate with Albertans and offer something completely new in the market.”

Mario Toneguzzi is a business reporter in Calgary.

© Calgary’s Business


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