Chez Panisse before the blaze. [Photo: banky177/Flickr]
Iconic Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse, which sustained a horrible fire in March, had already announced that they were hoping to return June 10, but given the inevitable delays in construction, that wasn't a sure bet. Now, it looks like there's a set opening date of June 21, as they're selling tickets for an opening-night benefit that will raise funds for Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard charity. With other Berkeley school gardening programs in peril due to USDA budget cuts, it's an important effort.
Given the first-night status and the charitable cause, Waters is turning her lemons into extremely pricey lemonade: dinner at the restaurant will go for $2,500 a plate on opening night, while a meal at the upstairs cafe will be $1,000 per head. Those looking to attend the opening party can make reservations by calling (510) 843-3811, and others who want to celebrate the glorious return but don't have deep pockets should note that phone reservations will be back next Monday, May 27, with OpenTable and online reservations coming back the following day.
· Chez Panisse rebuilds after fire, to reopen on summer solstice [L.A. Times]
· Chez Panisse Reopening Now Targeting Early June [~ ESF ~]
· Fire Hits Chez Panisse, Waters Hopes to Reopen "Soon" [~ ESF ~]