Reopening

To our dear customers and friends,

Thank you all for your patience as we have been maneuvering towards this complicated decision around the reopening of our dining room. In short, we have decided to keep doing the take-out food and Sunday market until the end of the year. Our next target is to open both the restaurant and café shortly after the new year. We do not have an exact date to announce yet.

The reason can be distilled to COVID, the surge of the Delta variant, and their many implications: health and safety of staff, worries about unvaccinated family members, unpredictable school closures and required quarantines as they relate to staffing, restrictive and constantly changing safety protocols, the financial challenges of reduced capacity, the expense of unexpectedly being forced to close, etc. Chez Panisse is housed in an old craftsman bungalow with low ceilings and a few small windows. We have installed a new air ventilation system for the back of the café, but in many areas of the restaurant, our options are quite limited.

This has been neither an easy nor unanimous decision–across all levels of staff and management, there are varying degrees of readiness. On the other side of this pandemic closure, our goal has always been to re-open permanently, steadily and without interruption–a little more time will reveal a lot of information to help us arrive there. The ideal scenario this fall is that COVID cases drop, vaccines become available to younger children, and the restaurant industry settles into these new cultural paradigms. Perhaps that will take more time than we are able to wait and we will eventually open despite the great uncertainty that many of us currently still feel; but, ultimately, this decision was made in the interest of the big picture of Chez Panisse and our future.

Thank you to our community near and far. And especially to fellow restaurants and their workers, who have weathered the unimaginable and made impossible choices every step of the way. We are looking forward to what is ahead, even if it takes a bit longer to get there.

Sincerely,

Varun Mehra
General Manager