3/08/2013 12:04:00 PM

Predawn Fire Ravages Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse was set afire this morning, photo HoustonKGO
A severe and suspicious fire has ravaged Alice Water’s iconic Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse this morning. According to Eater SF, the fire broke out at around 3 AM and mostly did damage to the building’s historic Arts and Crafts wooden front porch exterior, sparing most of the upstairs Café and some of the downstairs dining room. Firefighters are treating the fire as suspicious (little fires were found set around the building) but Alice Waters, who has been on the scene this morning, tells reporters she hopes to reopen the Café “very soon” just as soon as she’s can figure out a way to rebuild a hallway upstairs. (You can see her giving a teary-eyed video interview here). As for the venerable downstairs flagship, that will take longer and Water hints she might take the opportunity to expand the dining room area. But like a phoenix, she vows the birthplace of California Cuisine will rise from the ashes again. We’ll keep you updated as the story progresses.

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