Berkeley Fire Department Deputy Chief Avery Webb told KGO-TV (http://bit.ly/YQJG0h ) that a small eating area in the front of the restaurant burned during the overnight blaze, but the bulk of the restaurant was not damaged.
"Chez Panisse is one of our most famous restaurants in Berkeley and I was just hoping the damage wasn't too extensive," he said. "The majority of the restaurant is still intact."
It appears the fire started in a sub-floor area of the building, but the cause is still under investigation, Webb said.
Since Waters founded the restaurant in 1971, it has gained global renown in culinary circles as a pioneer of serving fresh, local food in season. She arrived on scene early Friday to talk with fire crews and workers.
Gourmet Magazine named Chez Panisse the best restaurant in America in 2001. And from 2002 to 2008, it was one of Restaurant Magazine's 50 best restaurants in the world.
Information from: KGO-TV.