Anthony Bourdain in Massachusetts: The Complete Guide

If you want to go back to the origins of this nation – at least from a Eurocentric point of view – there’s just one place to start: Massachusetts. The first colony was established on its shores, some of the most important moments in its independence movement occurred here, and The Bay State (as it is so called for the large bay off its Atlantic coast) has long held a special place in the hearts, minds, and pop culture awareness of many Americans.

Massachusetts was also special to Anthony Bourdain, as it’s where he became a cook – it’s really where he started walking the path to become the man so many of us admired. Bourdain visited and filmed in Massachusetts several times during his television career; the only show he didn’t film here was No Reservations!

Anthony Bourdain in Massachusetts Hero

Whether you call Massachusetts home or are planning to visit its vibrand, bustling cities or picturesque, rural communities, there’s a lot to love – not the least of which is the list of places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Massachusetts! Below you’ll find an overview of all the places Tony ate that are still open today; you’ll also find links to learn more about what he ate in each place, which can help unlock both the past and present of this state as a culinary and cultural destination.

In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Mahican, Massachusett, Nipmuc, Pennacook, Pocomtuc, and Wampanoag peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present peoples of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.

Boston

It should come as no surprise that when talking about places Anthony Bourdain ate in Massachusetts, the vast majority of them will be in ol’ Beantown, that is, Boston. Boston is the state’s largest city and most popular destination, and represents a unique microcosm of the many cultures that first – and later – settled in the Massachusetts colony and eventual state.

Anthony Bourdain made one trip to Boston, and here are the places he ate during that trip which are still open today:

There are a few others that have unfortunately closed in the intervening decade. You can, of course, dive deeper into each of these spots and what Tony ate (and, more commonly, drank, because hey, it’s Boston) at them in our guide to places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Boston.

Provincetown

While Boston might get more glory – and more screen-time – in Tony’s career, there is no place in Massachusetts which is more important to Bourdain than Provincetown, where is cooking career began. Over the course of two partial episodes, he takes us to some of the places that are still around today, some 50 years after he first joined the line:

Be sure to dig into my guide to these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Provincetown, as it’ll help you understand why these spots were so important to Tony and what to order (as he did) when you’re there.

Other Places Tony Ate in Massachusetts

Lastly, Bourdain did travel beyond the cities into the smaller communities of Massachusetts; specifically, he dedicated more than half of his “Massachusetts” Parts Unknown episode to western Mass, where the heroin epidemic was sweeping through more rural areas and destroying families and lives.

During that time he visits several spots you might also want to go:

  • The People’s Pint (Greenfield) – Here, Bourdain chats with a doctor about the heroin epidemic in rural Mass and what can be done; we don’t see what they eat on screen though it appears they must have had a meal.
  • Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley (Shelburne Falls) – Tony goes candlepin bowling with a group of septigenarians who’ve been bowling since the 50s, and discusses how the times have changed in their region of the country.
  • Shady Glen Diner (Turner Falls) – Next, he heads to a relative newcomer to the dining scene of the area, but which honors the region’s traditions. Here, Bourdain has the New England boiled dinner (corned beef and cabbage with steamed potatoes) and a slice of homemade raspberry cream pie.
  • Shuetzen Verein (Turner Falls) – Finally, Tony heads to an old-school clambake at a member’s only club, where he’s surrounded by those affected by the drug epidemic. In addition to a meal of New England clam chowder, steamer clams, and lobster with corn and potatoes, he chats with members of the community about the past and future they face.

Though the narrative Tony is weaving in these segments is rather far from the culture and cuisine themes he usually focuses on, I thought they were well worth mentioning as the smaller restaurants of our country deserve just as much support as those in bigger cities.

Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Massachusetts, or what he ate across The Bay State? Let me know in the comments below!

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Valerie is a travel writer currently based in Cleveland, but her favorite destinations are Alaska, London, and Jordan – only one of which Bourdain ever visited! You can find her writing on Lonely Planet, Forbes, and her travel blog, Valerie & Valise.

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