After a fire in March shut the doors to Berkeley’s famous gourmet restaurant Chez Panisse, the eatery is preparing to reopen later this month.

The March 8 fire at the restaurant owned by renowned chef Alice Waters, located at 1517 Shattuck Ave., caused as much as $200,000 in damage when electrical equipment under the building’s porch malfunctioned.

The fire broke out just after 3 a.m. that day and shuttered the business for months as it worked on repairs to the side and underside of the building, along with utility issues and smoke and water damage.

Since the end of May the restaurant has been taking reservations for the restaurant and café starting on June 24.

A Facebook message posted last week on the restaurant’s page stated, “We are booking one calendar month out in advance, and can’t wait to have all of you back!”

A woman answering the reservation line this morning said calls have been coming in frequently to book a spot at the restaurant.

Ahead of the opening, a re-opening celebration and fundraiser is scheduled at the restaurant on June 21.

The $1,000 to $2,500 per head dining tickets will go toward education programs at the Edible Schoolyard Project.

The nonprofit program provides a school curriculum that teaches students about food, the environment, and healthy living.

In Berkeley, there is a 1-acre organic garden and kitchen classroom for students at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, located at 1781 Rose St.

The evening will offer a special menu, music, dancing and wines.

The event falls on the summer solstice and will be the first operating night at the restaurant since its closure.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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