Though he was in New York at the time of yesterday morning's tragic fire, David Kinch rushed back to Los Gatos yesterday to evaluate the damage at his two-Michelin-starred Manresa, telling reporters that he was "devastated," but had every intention of rebuilding. Thankfully, none of the restaurant's employees were harmed, but much like Alice Waters in the wake of last year's Chez Panisse fire, Kinch now faces an arduous rebuilding process, one that a fire investigator told the San Jose Mercury News could take several months. (Kinch himself didn't comment on a timeline for rebuilding, though he told the Merc that an investigator's estimate of $300K worth of damage was just "speculation.")
The main damage was apparently to Manresa's roof; the interior, save for smoke and water damage, was generally unharmed. "It's mostly intact," Santa Clara County's fire battalion chief told the Merc. Linens and carpeting will need replacing as well. The fire's cause is still unclear, but it was apparently fueled by a gas meter (necessitating a PG&E hazmat team) and by plastic bins in the attic and eaves.
For his part, Kinch offered praise to the firefighters who helped save the restaurant:
2/2 ...hard work in battling the fire is the reason why so much of Manresa was saved. With highest appreciation, thank you. @sccfiredept— Manresa Restaurant (@ManresaCA) July 8, 2014
Leading figures from the food world also reached out on social media yesterday to offer their help and condolences to Kinch and his team.
Our hearts are with @davidkinch and entire Manresa team... Let us know how Yountville can help.— The French Laundry (@_TFL_) July 7, 2014
We'll have more on Manresa's plans for reopening, and the cause of the fire, as they emerge.
Update, 3:53 pm: Kinch has released a statement on the fire, again reassuring fans that the restaurant plans to reopen. Here it is in full.
What happened in the early morning hours yesterday was a setback. Manresa was a restaurant but it was much more than that. It is a family to us, one of shared vision, and of the pleasures and conviviality of the table, a gathering place of friends and family to share.
A single fire is not going to change that. We believe our mission as a team and our small contribution to the industry is much larger than this setback. We will be back, not just in this building but in many other ways.
We feel incredibly blessed by the support and love in messages from our local Los Gatos neighbors to our friends and colleagues from all over the world. It has been overwhelming. We are so grateful for the quick response and professionalism of the Santa Clara County Fire Department and the support of the Town of Los Gatos.
There has been speculation about the cost of damages and timing for reopening but we cannot confirm those reports. Rest assured, we will be reopening Manresa restaurant.
You must know that it is your support that will see us through, to re-open better and stronger and to again welcome you, our loyal guests. Thank you.
– Chef/Proprietor David Kinch
· Manresa fire: Los Gatos restaurateur vows to reopen [Mercury News]
· Manresa Suffers "Heavy Damage" in Two-Alarm Fire [~ ESF ~]