Leave it to California Pizza Kitchen (NASDAQ:CPKI) to keep the toppings coming. The casual-dining chain specializing in gourmet pizza pies and pasta dishes announced that second-quarter earnings will clock in ahead of expectations.

If it sounds familiar, it's because the scene was duplicated three months ago. This time around, the company is looking to earn either $0.29 or $0.30 a share for the June quarter. That range is a penny better than the original guidance issued back in May.

Same-store sales rose by a healthy 4.8%. That's an amazing feat when one considers that comps soared 8.6% higher in the second quarter of 2005. In other words, the typical store rang up 13.8% more in sales than it did during the same period two years ago.

California Pizza Kitchen owns most of its 194 restaurants. In a quick-service world where franchising is the expansion vehicle of choice, CPK's hands-on approach comes in handy when things are going well. Shareholders can take advantage of the chain's store-level popularity a little better that way.

I have described CPK as Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE) meets Papa John's (NASDAQ:PZZA), but that may not be appropriate, given the recent weakness at Cheesecake Factory.

CPK is a class of its own these days. There's no topping the topping specialist.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz always seems to have a restaurant stock or two in his portfolio, and that happens to include Cheesecake Factory. He is a member of the Rule Breakers newsletter team. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .