On Tuesday, a memorable night for Chez Panisse and owner Alice Waters – the first time in two years that the Berkeley dining institution welcomed diners indoors – ran into an emotional conflict with the restaurant next door.
When patrons entered the Shattuck Avenue fixture, they must have passed a group of passionate but peaceful protesters fighting against Caesar’s closure. The longtime tapas restaurant will close in July unless its owner, Chez Panisse, decides to renew the lease. About 35 supporters held signs that read “shame on Chez”, “community over profit” and “don’t destroy local businesses!” A man pinned a message for Waters to his button-down shirt: “And you, Alice? They broke into cheers as passing cars on Shattuck honked their horns in support.