California Pizza Kitchen's (NASDAQ:CPKI) dough continues its rise after a solid fourth quarter capped off a year of generous results. But it's part of an aggressive industry that still could make some investors pass on this stock, despite the company's successes.

For the quarter, the company achieved tasty earnings in the amount of $5.2 million, compared with the $4.4 million of net income a year ago. The earnings were the result of a 19.9% increase in revenues that climbed to $115.2 million.

For the year, California Pizza's sales grew 17.4% to $422.5 million, and its comparable same-store sales (over a 12-month cycle) came in at a strong 5.9%. Its fiscal 2004 revenues helped the company's earnings increase by 121% to $17.7 million (or $0.92 in earnings per share), compared with the $8 million level of 2003.

One big reason for California Pizza's success is its 123% improvement in operating margins, from 2.6% in 2003 to 5.8% in 2004. No, 5.8% is nothing to call your friends about, but the deep-dish-sized increase shows that the company is on the right track toward increasing its stash of money, which currently sits at $17.7 million in cash and equivalents, and $25.4 million in marketable securities.

So, you want a slice of this tomato pie? Before you do, we need to dig further. The company has offered revenue guidance for 2005 at a range of 9% to 10%. It has also established an earnings target of $1.11 to $1.13, or 22% over 2004. With a blended growth rate of 16%, this sauce, with its forward price-to-earnings ratio of 24, is a tad too rich for my taste.

The company has only 138 full-service restaurants. That's a sign that there's plenty of room for growth. But its stock is steeply valued at $26.50, given the fiercely competitive industry that it's in -- it has to go up against expert pie throwers like Papa John's (NASDAQ:PZZA), Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ), and Yum! Brands' (NYSE:YUM) Pizza Hut, as well as one of my favorites, Uno's Pizza. For now, it's a good time to be a watcher of California Pizza's stock and a buyer of its pizza.

Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.