When a fire severely damaged the famed Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley on the morning of March 8, one question lingered – when will it reopen? The answer appears to be June 21.

According to the Chez Panisse website, owner Alice Waters is planning a gala event on that evening to celebrate the Summer Solstice and the reopening of the restaurant, which has been closed for renovations since the early March blaze. All proceeds from the event will benefit new Edible Education programs at the Edible Schoolyard Project.

Tickets are not cheap – they’re going for $1,000 per person in the Cafe and $2,500 per person in the Restaurant. There will be a special menu in place, with music, dancing and wines as well.

When the fire originally was contained, there was hope that Chez Panisse would be able to reopen in a few weeks. But the damage was much more severe than originally thought and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Kip Mesirow, the restaurant’s original builder and designer, was brought in for the rebuild. Though the restaurant will look very similar to the original, the Chronicle reports there will be a few subtle differences.

“It’s a very old building, and we have the opportunity to make things right that were never right from the beginning,” Waters told the Chronicle. “It’s always been a house we’ve tried to make into a restaurant, and now we really have the time to contemplate how we can put our house in order.”

That includes abiding by a stringent new set of building codes and rules that weren’t in existence when the iconic restaurant opened in 1971.

To find out more about the dinner and evening, call (510) 843-3811.



Photo Credit: Chez Panisse