The sun rises over the desert, lighting up the mountains and saguaro cacti that you can almost only find here: Arizona. The Grand Canyon State is known primarily for its nickname-sake geological formation, but as with all places, there’s much more to discover everywhere else, including its big cities of Phoenix and Tucson – both of which Anthony Bourdain visited.
In fact, Anthony Bourdain visited Arizona to film season 4 (episode 15) of No Reservations; the episode is titled “U.S. Southwest” and covers a number of destinations from Southern California to West Texas – including Arizona. Unfortunately, this single, partial episode was Tony’s only on-screen visit.
I don’t normally put together a guide when there aren’t many places to eat in a destination, but I thought it was still worth including a guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Arizona, since it is one he sought to explore to help expand his own open-mindedness about the variety of American culture.
If you’re planning a trip to Arizona or call Arizona home, you can still visit one of the two places Tony ate during his road trip visit.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Pueblos, Ndee/Nnēē: (Western Apache), and Hohokam peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Alice Cooperstown (Phoenix) (CLOSED)
As part of his journey across the Southwest, Anthony Bourdain made one stop in Phoenix: Alice Cooperstown, the namesake restaurant of Alice Cooper with business partner and former pro baseballer Randy Johnson.
Bourdain sits down with Cooper for a meal, and they share one of the most notable items on the menu: Randy Johnson’s Big Unit. (The dish is a play on Johnson’s nickname, “The Big Unit.”) It’s a two-foot hot dog smothered in chili, cheese, and green onions – all time Americana cranked up.
Unfortunately, Alice Cooperstown closed in 2017, after 18 years of business. No more Big Units for anyone, sadly.
Titan Missile Museum (Tucson)
Tony’s second of two stops in Arizona is down south, at Tucson’s Titan Missile Museum. While this isn’t a food spot per se, Bourdain has a “Titan-tini” following his guided tour of the missile silo and control room.
I couldn’t confirm if this is still an option for visitors today, but this museum has been on my personal must-visit since before I knew Bourdain had visited, so I’m sure I’ll be able to come back and update this once I’ve been.
While there isn’t much to choose from, Arizona is still a worthy destination for Anthony Bourdain fans willing to approach the Grand Canyon State with the same open-mindedness to new places you might find. Have any questions about these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Arizona, few as they are? Let me know in the comments below.