In New Jersey, the Anthony Bourdain Food Trail Is Open for Business

Anthony Bourdain hated a lot of things: Kobe sliders, mimes, SantaCon. 

But he loved a lot, too, especially in New Jersey, where he spent most of his childhood. In the Parts Unknown field notes for the Garden State, he wrote: “I came of age a passenger in cars driving aimlessly around Route 80, Route 46, Route 4, cruising for burgers, cruising for girls, cruising just … because. So, to me, much-maligned New Jersey was always magic.”

And words like those have not been forgotten since Bourdain passed last June. Following an initiative by New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, the chef’s years of loyalty and patronage will now be commemorated with the Anthony Bourdain Trail, a food trail of 10 local haunts — clam shacks, burger joints, corner delis — that Tony loved, all now under official state designation.

Included are spots like Hiram’s Roadstand in Fort Lee, where he ate a ripper (that’s a deep-fried hot dog) and Donkey’s Place in Camden, where he ate an American cheese cheesesteak (rumored to be better than the ones across the bridge in Philly).

All told, it’s a worthy tribute for a man who long championed the dusty, unheralded mainstays, who favored spots more concerned with conversations than cocktails. And hopefully it will lead to sustained success for these small businesses; much of Bourdain’s NJ episode centered on the rebirth of certain areas in the state, like Atlantic City, on the pride with which the locals were moving forward, despite decades of setback due to developments like this. Our favorite culinary curmudgeon may be gone, but this trail will make sure his prodigious talent for connection — for communing with strangers over a beer and a basket of bread — lives on and well in the swamps of Jersey. 

Though there’s no date for an official induction set, we’ve included the full list below so you can start planning your trip.

The Anthony Bourdain Food Trail:

Main Image via IMDB/Parts Unknown/CNN
Inline image via Parts Unknown/Netflix