Anthony Bourdain, the famous celebrity chef and writer, died last week after a long struggle with mental illness. There was an outpouring of support by friends, peers, and those whose lives Bourdain impacted.
One particularly touching tribute was from Barney Greengrass, the iconic Jewish deli on the Upper West Side New York. Bourdain was a breakfast regular at the old-school eatery, so in his honor, an empty table — the same one Bourdain sat in a 2002 episode of his Food Network show, “A Cook’s Tour” — was set with his favorite meal: a lox and egg scramble.
An empty chair at Barney Greengrass with Anthony Bourdain’s regular breakfast order: Nova Scotia Lox and egg scramble. Staff say his humble humor is greatly missed at the deli counter. @NY1 pic.twitter.com/MLvhiOWgRZ
— Van Tieu (@Van_Tieu) June 8, 2018
Gary Greengrass — the deli’s owner and Barney’s grandson — explained, “We decided to set up the table just the way he liked it. I just thought it would be a nice tribute to put it literally right at the table where he sat … having his meal and reading the New York Times.”
To the staff of the deli, Bourdain wasn’t a celebrity; he was a friend. Greengrass said, “When you see his show and he’s sitting there halfway around the world, you know he just looked comfortable. He felt right at home. And when he came here, when he came to us, he felt comfortable.”
Bourdain’s history with Barney Greengrass runs deep. On A Cook’s Tour, Bourdain called Barney Greengrass “the best breakfast in the universe.” He also said in 2005, “no city on the planet can make deli like a New York deli and the first thing I start to miss when away from home too long is breakfast at Barney Greengrass.”
Barney Greengrass — like fans and food lovers everywhere else — will deeply miss Bourdain.
Header Image via Pranav Bhatt on Flickr.