Restaurant News & Reviews

Update: California Pizza Kitchen at Sacramento mall reopens after alleged roach infestation

California Pizza Kitchen was temporarily closed in Arden Fair Mall after a health inspection Tuesday afternoon turned up a cockroach infestation and major food safety violations. A follow-up inspection report on Wednesday showed the restaurant had passed and the company said it was reopened.

The restaurant had 14 dead adult or nymph German cockroaches on the floor next to the prep cooler by the pizza assembly line, according to the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department inspection report. A solitary surviving roach was also observed scurrying away from the inspector’s flashlight beam around the same area.

Ecolab Pest Control swept through California Pizza Kitchen on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26, according to reports the restaurant manager showed the county inspector. The Sept. 19 sweep allegedly showed signs of vermin infestation, though it was cleared up by Sept. 26.

There were gross food handling violations, too, according to inspectors. Most perishable foods are required to be stored at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below; a squeeze bottle of nacho cheese stored atop California Pizza Kitchen’s rethermalizer registered 96 degrees. Shrimp that an employee said had recently been left out for about an hour was 59 degrees despite being back in the walk-in cooler at the time of inspection.

The restaurant also picked up minor violations for having chicken, potatoes, blanched asparagus, shrimp, grilled corn, cheese roasted eggplant, and meatballs stored at 44-48 degrees.

The restaurant passed its last inspection on Jan. 31 with no serious violations.

The company released a statement late Wednesday saying it had reopened the restaurant.

“California Pizza Kitchen takes the safety and sanitation of our restaurants extremely seriously,” the company’s emailed statement said. “We have taken immediate steps to address the violations. This includes thorough sanitation of the restaurant and extermination procedures facilitated by our provider, Ecolab. Early this morning, the health department re-inspected the restaurant and confirmed that all health standards and sanitation measures were compliant, and the restaurant was approved to re-open. Members of our operations leadership are on-site to retrain restaurant staff and reinforce CPK’s rigorous safety and sanitation procedures.”

Two Beverly Hills attorneys founded California Pizza Kitchen in 1985 and later sold it to PepsiCo, which in turn sold the majority of its stake to private equity firms. Known for its inventive, nontraditional pizzas, California Pizza Kitchen now has more than 250 locations worldwide.

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Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general breaking news and investigative projects. A Sacramento native, he previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.