Anthony Bourdain filming Parts Unknown at the Squirrel Hill Cafe

By now you’ve probably heard that famed chef, TV superstar and self-proclaimed “enthusiast” Anthony Bourdain is in Pittsburgh filming an episode of CNN’s Parts Unknown–a travel show in which he explores locales across the globe that are in some way unexplored, misunderstood or misrepresented. While we locals (especially the astute readers of NEXTpittsburgh) are well aware of the merits of our city, many across the country are just getting hip, so this is a sweet spot moment for Bourdain to come to town.

Much like the White House, the Squirrel Hill Cafe, where Bourdain was spotted yesterday, became something of a sieve, and we scored a bit of insider info about what went down in “the Cage.” The New York Times we may not be, but we’re just as confident in our sources.

As is typical for the show, Bourdain is here interviewing locally famous names. It’s usually a mix of chefs, who are his kin, and other lifers or long-time transplants who can provide unique insight into a city. Yesterday, Bourdain filmed with one Pittsburgher whose name is nationally recognized: author Stewart O’Nan.

A list of some of Stewart O’Nan’s books, written on a napkin at the Squirrel Hill Cafe.

O’Nan has written several novels, many of which are set in our region (most famously, Snow Angels), and it turns out Bourdain is a big fan. Upon sitting down, he made sure to let O’Nan know he’s an enthusiastic reader of his work. Over burgers and beers, the two rapped about various things having to do with how Pittsburgh has grown and changed. At one point Bourdain picked O’Nan’s brain about Pittsburgh “boomerangs,” particularly where they’re finding jobs upon their return.

Anthony Bourdain and Stewart O’Nan talking Pittsburgh at the Squirrel Hill Cafe.

O’Nan is an enthusiastic reader, in general, himself, which he made known by sporting a #PGHREADS t-shirt on set. #PGHREADS is a summer reading program from the Carnegie Library that’s been a smashing success. Yesterday evening, after filming, O’Nan went on to do a reading at CLP, proudly displaying his shirt like Superman for all to see.

Our leaker snuck us info on who else Bourdain will be filming with, but at this moment, we’re not permitted to divulge. If you were a Parts Unknown producer and had to line up notable Pittsburghers, particularly chefs, who would you seek out? We’ll give you a few guesses . . .

UPDATE: 6/16/17

Looks like Tony made a pilgrimage to Braddock. Gisele Fetterman, the borough’s First Lady, posted a photo with him on her Instagram account. Any guesses what he’s doing there? Hmm…

When the enthusiast comes to the #412 ???????? #pittsburghproud

A post shared by gisele fetterman (@gfett) on

Ali Trachta

Ali Trachta joyfully returned home to Pittsburgh after a long stint at LA Weekly. Most recently she served as its online editor as well as digital strategist for its parent company, Voice Media Group,...