For the latest on the Glass Incident Fire, go here.
The Restaurant at Meadowood, a three-Michelin-star restaurant inside the St. Helena luxury resort, was completely destroyed by the Glass Incident Fire, a fast-moving blaze that has destroyed at least seven area wineries and burned over 36,236 acres.
Video posted to Twitter by veteran San Francisco broadcast journalist Terry McSweeney shows the scene, embers still burning in the ruins of the restaurant (which also goes by the acronym TRAM), and only two brick fireplaces remaining.
Ken Wayne, another TV reporter on the scene, posted this photo of the restaurant’s entrance, where only its stone stairs survive.
Concerns about the safety of the TRAM, which has served visitors and guests of the resort since the early 1980s, were raised Monday afternoon when reporter Adam Housley tweeted a multitude of photos from the scene of the fire, writing “they couldn’t save it” in regards to a photo of TRAM as it was consumed by flames.
Meadowood representatives initially declined comment on the blaze, as they, themselves, had been evacuated from the site. Chef Christopher Kostow, who has overseen TRAM’s fine dining kitchen for over a decade, also declined to speak on the record. As some reporters noted that firefighters had managed to save most of the resort’s larger buildings, hope remained. Until it didn’t.
According to the SF Chronicle, the entire building that held TRAM, its more casual counterpart, the Grill at Meadowood, and a golf shop was destroyed by the fire, even as firefighters “drained the turquoise resort pools to fill their engine tanks.”
KPIX reports that the fire first reached the resort at 3 a.m. Monday, and speaking with ABC 7, firefighter Capt. Matt Dowland says that the restaurant was already burning when they arrived. “We were able to put it out,” he says, but then “the water system, the tanks, got destroyed and then we ran out of water.” Eighteen hours later, reporter Kate Larsen tweets, the restaurant was still burning.
Meadowood in Saint Helena had been burning for about 18 hours when I shot this. The firefighters have been at it for even longer. The destruction of the #glassfire is unreal. pic.twitter.com/dC21cGyUvj— Kate Larsen (@KateABC7) September 29, 2020
TRAM had only recently reopened for diners. Speaking with Eater SF in May, Kostow said that after closing as part of California’s pandemic-related shutdown in March, that the Bauer-four-starred restaurant would remain dark until its associated resort reopened, which it did on July 1. In a note to diners, Kostow wrote in part that:
We simply don’t know what the world will continue to look like, and what our place will be in it. People have suffered through this time in a multitude of ways; others continue to seek equality and recognition of the basic humanity long denied them…. and we are here, in our corner of the world, farming and preserving and preparing expensive dinners…the pandemic drags on throughout the world, a slow drumbeat of worsening news inundates us, and we prepare to welcome the few who can afford our experience.
I have long tried to reconcile the incongruencies of this position, one that is thrown into even sharper relief in this moment. I return, again, to the fact that beauty has intrinsic value- both in the process of its creation and through the sharing of it- be it in the dining room, or on Instagram, or in a cookbook. There is something aspirational about a group of clear eyed people from different corners of the world, backgrounds, and experiences, working together to create joy and wonder and bring comfort to those who experience it; something inherent in the act and the resulting product that hopefully may serve as a salve in even the most challenging days. The deliberate, mindfulness that happens in environments like this runs counter to some of the selfishness that we have been seeing. We subjugate ourselves in the service of each other and the guest, and we do so, even now, with the fervency of the true believers… Perhaps this can help even a little bit.
Brett Anderson, a spokesperson for Meadowood parent company Pacific Union, told the Bay Area News Group late Monday that if Meadowood was destroyed — as it almost certainly is — longtime owners the Harlan family and the Kroenke family “are committed to the property. Whatever it takes to rebuild and reopen, we’ll do.”