BERKELEY -- One of the Bay Area's most famous restaurants is set to reopen June 21, nearly four months after a fire destroyed parts of the building.

Chez Panisse, the renowned eatery founded by Alice Waters, an icon of the California cuisine movement, will open its kitchen once again with a celebration on the day of Summer Solstice. The event will double as a fundraiser for new education programs at the Berkeley-based Edible Schoolyard Project, which teaches middle school students how to improve their food choices on a one-acre organic garden and kitchen classroom. Reservations cost $1,000 per person to eat in the second-floor café and $2,500 a head for the main dining room.

Robin MacSwain, left, and June Johnson, background, work on a new frame installed on the fire damaged Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley on Tuesday April
Robin MacSwain, left, and June Johnson, background, work on a new frame installed on the fire damaged Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley on Tuesday April 30, 2013. The restaurant has been closed since the March 8 fire. (Doug Oakley/Bay Area News Group) (Doug Oakley)

The restaurant will reopen its reservation phone line May 27 at 9 a.m., and online reservations can be made at www.chezpanisse.com or through Open Table starting May 28. For information and reservations, call 510-843-3811.

The March 8 fire caused no injuries but damaged the exterior of the restaurant and destroyed much of the electrical and plumbing systems. The restaurant's reopening comes just in time for its 42nd anniversary, celebrated on Aug. 28 with a special menu and champagne celebration.

Contact Heather Somerville at 925-977-8418. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.



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