The March 8 fire at Chez Panisse was worse than originally thought -- so much worse that the Berkeley dining institution won't reopen for longer than originally thought.
Chef Alice Waters's slow-food destination was damaged in a March 8 fire. Rebuilding work began last week, but builders quickly found that the restaurant was more badly damaged that initially thought, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Most of the fire damage was on an exterior facade and porch. But rather than just replacing them, the porches must be demolished and replaced, and work done on structural elements upstairs and downstairs.
The restaurant had planned to begin accepting reservations yesterday for an April 15 reopening date. But with original builder Kip Mesirow on hand, the reopening date has been indefinitely postponed, the newspaper reported.
Restoration in Progress:
Thank you to the many friends of Chez Panisse who have offered their incredible support and council since the fire at the restaurant on March 8th.
Kip Mesirow, the original artisan builder of the restaurant, has flown out from Vermont and is leading a team of talented woodworkers to rebuild both porches and redesign the façade of the building.
We have learned from the builders that we have to remove both the top and bottom porches on the front of the building.
This means there will be a more significant demolition project ahead of us than we had originally anticipated, as well as many structural repairs that affect both upstairs and down. All the staff is pitching in to help with the cleanup—we are cleaning and repainting every inch and working to get Chez Panisse back open as quickly as possible.
The opening dates for both the café and the restaurant are still to be determined. We are calling everyone personally to cancel all existing reservations, and we will post new updates as we receive additional information about the progress of the reconstruction.
We are so grateful to the city of Berkeley and our whole community of friends, family, and longtime patrons for their ongoing patience and generosity.
Most gratefully yours,
Alice and the Chez Panisse family