By Scott Shumaker | East Valley Tribune
When California Pizza Kitchen in the Village Square at Dana Park closed in 2017, the Mesa shopping center owner Whitestone faced some choices for the vacant free-standing building.
One option, according to Whitestone COO Christine Mastandrea, was to tear down the building and put in a drive-thru restaurant.
“We could have demolished that building and put a drive-thru in there real quick,” Mastandrea said. “That actually would have been probably what most people would have done.”
But Whitestone isn’t “most people.”
Instead, Whitestone subdivided the building into two units and attracted two new local sit-down restaurant concepts that are now open: the Original ChopShop, which started its first location in Old Town Scottsdale in 2013, and Lucky Lou’s American Kitchen, a Vegas-themed East Valley eatery with four locations.
Those new eateries join over 20 other restaurants in the shopping center at Baseline Road and Val Vista Drive – none drive-thru.
Mastandrea said the new brands filling the old CPK building match many of the company’s preferences for tenant restaurants: local, affordable – and sit-down – concepts for families operated by entrepreneurs.