It’s back! Inside the newly re-opened Chez Panisse


Chefs at work in the Chez Panisse kitchen. Photo: Amanda Marsalis

On Monday this week, Chez Panisse re-opened to the public after an early-morning fire in March shut the landmark restaurant down for nearly four months. On that day, we published an interview with owner Alice Waters who spoke about the process of rebuilding, and how her team turned a crisis into an opportunity to do a little re-inventing. Waters also said she had thought of moving the restaurant to a totally different location on more than one occasion.

Much to the relief of many Berkeleyans, Chez Panisse has stayed put. Today we bring you photographs of the results of all the careful restoration and rebuilding work that has gone into bringing the restaurant back to life.


Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters in the dining room on the eve of the reopening on Monday. Photo: Amanda Marsalis


The new  dining alcove on the front of Chez Panisse which had to be completely rebuilt after the March 8 fire. Photo: Amanda Marsalis


The Chez Panisse team meet before two fundraising dinners held at the restaurant on Friday June 21. Photo: Amanda Marsalis


Displays of fresh fruit and flowers are always a constant at Chez Panisse. Photo: Amanda Marsalis


Chez Panisse co-chef Cal Peternell with cranberry beans. Photo: Amanda Marsalis


Table setting for a fundraising dinner for the Edible Schoolyard Project. Photo: Amanda Marsalis


Chez Panisse Café co-chefs Beth Wells and Nathan Alderson. Photo: Amanda Marsalis


Chez Panisse and its famous araucaria tree: back in business. Photo: Amanda Marsalis

Alice Waters: The response to the fire is the reason I want to live in Berkeley (06.24.13)
Chez Panisse sets opening date after fire (04.30.13)
Chez Panisse closed indefinitely, major rebuild needed (03.19.13)
Chez Panisse rebuilds, focuses on re-opening (03.13.13)
Fire at Chez Panisse damages front of restaurant (03.08.13)

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  • guest

    Beautiful! But the table lamps have changed?

  • VdR

    Last year on the day we moved into our temporary Berkeley house, Cafe Fanny closed. Today we move out, tomorrow another town, and it is heart warming to see that Alice has her true love up and going again! Great photos, thanks!!

  • John Holland

    It’s a good thing we have a new fire chief!

  • John Holland

    BTW, I kid Alice Waters. I actually love all the things she has done for Berkeley, and good food!

  • spare0hs

    Gorgeous! I can’t wait to finally go there…for the first time!

  • guest

    “Co-Chef” sounds awkward. Can’t we think of something less ham handed?

  • Annie Painter

    After living 3 blocks from here for 25 years, I’d love to say I’ve ever seen any of these folks on the street except for AW. Best wishes on your reopening, neighbors!

  • Bardolph

    (In the teaser)

  • Toby Salk

    I JUST left Chez Panisse after an exquisite dinner. It felt the same..but different. Sparkly…like a spring cleaning. Everyone was so up beat, enthusiastic about the reopening. As always…the food was divine, the waitstaff warm and kind, and the beauty … enveloping.

  • Mbfarrel

    My dog should eat there. He’d love it.

  • Chris J

    I wish them well. A great contribution to cuisine and food. My wife and I, however, will not be visiting there again as we simply can’t afford to go anymore–or I should say– we choose to spend our eating-out money on a variety of places. We can eat at maybe 2 super-good restaurants or at 3-4 reasonably good places for one evening at Chez Panisse.

    Yah, I’d rather have several eating out experiences at high quality restaurants than one. Just me.

  • guest

    It’s the people that make the place, the Chez it is. A perfect example is Steve, the maître’d in the cafe at night . A man of many talents, among them, the ability to engage the diversity of patrons with equal respect, charm and an unwavering sense of reality (an essential asset when dealing with dramatic diners.)

  • guest

    What’s up with this “I’ve got an irrelevant opinion about everything” comment?

    Personal circumstances prevent you from doing something others easily afford. Then you offer your two cents on how to spend discretionary income…in response to an article about a restaurant re-opening? Hungry for attention?

  • guest

    Unless you’re a ‘seeing eye’ person and your dog is blind, you wouldn’t get in.

  • Chris J

    Yes, you’re right. I like to write and express opinions, sometimes (and you are correct here) slightly irrelevant ones.

    Hungry for attention? I don’t think so, but it got your attention. Funny that.

  • Mbfarrel

    He didn’t need me.

  • guest

    You got my attention by puffing out your chest, thumbs strecthing out your suspenders, and let’in fly with self ingratiating ditzy personal wizdom.

    And as far as anonymity goes, “Chris J” is what? Your actual name? An abbreviation for ‘Christ Jesus’?

  • guest

    He never did.

  • Chris J

    Surely you must have better things to do than fail to ignore irrelevant opinions on these minor Internet threads–and now, I realize, so do I.

    Christ Jesus? How did you guess?

  • guest

    “Christ Jesus? How did you guess?”

    Didn’t have to guess. That delusion is prevalent here abouts. (sound of suspenders snapping)