The Best Spots Where Anthony Bourdain Ate On His Trip To This Beloved Northeast City

In his televised travels, the late Anthony Bourdain only visited Pittsburgh once, but it made for a memorable episode of his CNN docuseries, "Parts Unknown." Where else would you see a 103-year-old Italian man beat Bourdain in bocce before the weather ruined their picnic, overturning a table of salsiccia and meatballs in "an augur of doom?" If storm clouds were gathering over Pittsburgh, both literally and figuratively, when Bourdain came to town in 2017, it wasn't the first time for this part of the Northeast. Once synonymous with the steel industry, Pennsylvania's second-largest city had bounced back from industrial and population decline with a new tech and culinary boom. Yet the pandemic would take a toll on Pittsburgh's dining scene, and now there are precious few restaurants left in town from that "Parts Unknown" episode.

When traveling to Pittsburgh, however, you can still eat and drink in three key places that Bourdain did. Some of his dining companions, like chef Jamilka Borges, have also kept it local with their recent endeavors. In 2020, Borges closed her restaurant Spoon, which is mentioned and briefly shown in the episode, but she's currently co-running another Pittsburgh restaurant, Lilith, with chef Dianne Destefano. Informed by their respective Puerto Rican and Sicilian backgrounds, Lilith specializes in coastal cuisine, and the menu also has several vegan options like pumpkin ravioli. This is just one example of how Pittsburgh and its residents continue reinventing themselves in ways that keep it a must-see city in Pennsylvania for foodies.

Pittsburgh on Parts Unknown

One Pittsburgh eatery that's still going strong since Anthony Bourdain visited is the Squirrel Hill Cafe. Nicknamed the Squirrel Cage, this unpretentious neighborhood bar has 90 years of history behind it. It first opened in 1934 after Prohibition ended, and you can't miss its red-and-black Art Deco exterior on Forbes Avenue. When Bourdain sat down with novelist Stewart O'Nan there, he ordered a simple beer and cheeseburger.

Over on Wylie Avenue, Grandma B's is the halal diner where Bourdain met with Hill District community leader Sala Udin. For breakfast, travelers rave about the Big G Combo, with its generous helping of eggs, pancakes, home fries, and kielbasa sausage. To go the sandwich route, as Bourdain did, one Pennsylvania-appropriate lunch option is the Philly cheesesteak. If you're on a Pittsburgh road trip, Grandma B's is about five minutes from PPG Paints Arena, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. Udin drove Bourdain past the arena, lamenting how its parking lot paved over his childhood home.

Another option for a "Parts Unknown"-inspired meal in Pittsburgh is Kelly's Bar and Lounge on Centre Avenue. This is where Bourdain dined with wrestler Brittany Baker (who still practices dentistry by day, but has since relocated to Florida). The Pitt Platter will set you up with kielbasa, sauerkraut, and pierogis like Bourdain ate. The side of "molten mac and cheese" was an add-on, but you can still get it if you don't mind waiting at least 20 minutes for it to bake.

Restaurants that have closed

Unfortunately, in the years since the Pittsburgh episode of "Parts Unknown" aired, most of the other featured restaurants have closed for good. Certain restaurants may still have their websites up, but you're likely to find a vacant building if go looking for them now based on outdated information. To save you the trouble of embarking on a wild goose chase with your GPS, here's the latest on Anthony Bourdain's Pittsburgh.

Hotspots like Dinette and Cure, whose star chefs shared a picnic table with Bourdain in a rural area outside Pittsburgh, are now a thing of the past. The same goes for Jozsa Corner, the convivial Hungarian joint that Bourdain described as a "house party with food." In 2022, owner Alexander Jozsa Bodnar — who could be seen leading a spirited sing-along of "Come to the Jozsa Corner" in the episode — sadly died at the age of 79.

Bourdain also took a detour to nearby Braddock, Pennsylvania, in the Pittsburgh episode of "Parts Unknown." In Braddock, he pulled up a bar stool with local documentarian Tony Buba at Hidy's Cafe, which has since closed permanently. After the departure of chef Kevin Sousa, a similar fate befell Superior Motors (pictured above), where Bourdain dined with current Pennsylvania senator John Fetterman, philanthropist Gisele Fetterman, and Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris. The good news is, you can still see the New Alexandria Lions Demolition Derby, though Salem Ukes Club (where Bourdain drank with demolition driver Brooke Harris) remains a private members club.