Early this morning, sometime between 1 and 3 a.m., a fire broke out at one of the world’s best-known restaurants, the iconic Chez Panisse (1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley). It is the second fire at the restaurant, which was founded in 1971 by Alice Waters. The destruction is less severe than that caused by the first fire, which closed the restaurant for several months in 1982, and it appears so far to be limited to the large front porch, though the downstairs dining room was flooded and the gorgeous wisteria vine that embraced the restaurant’s entrance has been destroyed.
In an interview on KTVU this morning, Alice says she hopes to re-open by March 21, which is Parsi New Year, but she does not know yet if that can happen. The cause of the fire and its extent are currently being investigated.