Fans of the late chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain can now dine as he once did in the state where he was raised. The Anthony Bourdain Food Trail traces his New Jersey dining adventures, highlighting the 10 eateries visited in a 2015 episode of his CNN food and travel show, “Parts Unknown.”
A “food trail” is a way of promoting restaurants that share a commonality — whether it’s a style of cuisine, a particular ingredient or, in this case, a celebrity. Other well-known food trails include New Mexico’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail and the Mississippi Seafood Trail.
The New Jersey eateries included on the trail are Kubel’s in Barnegat Light; Hiram’s Roadstand in Fort Lee; Knife and Fork in Atlantic City; Dock’s Oyster House in Atlantic City; Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City; Tony and Ruth Steaks in Camden; Donkey’s Place in Camden; Lucille’s Country Cooking in Barnegat; Frank’s Deli in Asbury Park; and James’ Salt Water Taffy in Atlantic City.
Bourdain was well-known for his globetrotting adventures, dining in eateries from Honolulu to Hanoi. But he was raised in Leonia, New Jersey, and never forgot his home state. That’s why New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty proposed the resolution to honor Bourdain just weeks after his death in 2018.
“Even after international fame, (Bourdain) never forgot his Jersey roots,” Moriarty said in a 2018 statement. “Each episode, Bourdain brought his homegrown wit, charm and sense of humanity to his viewers. He became a New Jersey food icon.”
The restaurants on the food trail receive plaques declaring that they’re an official part of the route. The plaques feature an image of Bourdain peeking over the top of his sunglasses.
“The documentary that he did on New Jersey was really a love poem to New Jersey,” said Moriarty, according to Philadelphia public radio station WHYY. “If you go back and look at it. He left us a map. A trail to all these places and said why he went there.”
Bourdain died by suicide in June of 2018, and the restaurant world and his millions of fans reeled at the loss.
“It was heartbreaking for his fans and for those who knew him in Leonia to find out of his passing,” Moriarty said in 2018. “A designated trail of his favorite dining spots is a fitting way to honor the memory of one of New Jersey’s best known chefs.”
Bourdain first came to fame with his 2000 book, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” That led to Bourdain hosting numerous television food and travel shows for the Food Network, the Travel Channel and CNN. He was on location in France filming an episode of “Parts Unknown” for CNN when he died.
Bourdain is still remembered and honored by fans and friends. CNN is producing a feature documentary on his life that will play in theaters and on the cable channel. He’s inspired a college class at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. A memorial book was published in May. His final graphic novel, “Hungry Ghosts,” was published in September 2018, and episodes of “Parts Unknown” continue to stream on Netflix. His memory lives on, too, in the 11 ways Bourdain forever changed the food world.