Initial reports from news crews on the scene revealed that the fire had damaged a small area in the front of the restaurant and the porch. But Waters indicated yesterday that a major rebuild will be needed and the restaurant won't be opening on March 23rd as expected.
The chef made the announcement on Facebook, informing fans of Chez Panisse that the damage to the restaurant was more extensive than originally thought.
''We have learned from the builders that we have to remove both the top and bottom porches on the front of the building. This means there will be a more significant demolition project ahead of us than we had originally anticipated, as well as many structural repairs that affect both upstairs and down,'' Waters said.
Ever the optimist, the chef said she was excited about the rebuilding and has hired artisan builder Kip Mesirow from Vermont. Mesirow is the original builder of the restaurant and is directing a team of woodworkers to rebuild both porches and redesign the facade of the building, according to Waters.
Here is a sketch of what Chez Panisse will look like: