Anthony Bourdain Named This Kansas City Staple One of the 13 Restaurants Everyone Should Eat at Before They Die

When Anthony Bourdain visited Kansas City in 2008, he knew he was going to be treated with some of the country’s best barbecue — and he was not disappointed. The late celebrity chef ate at a number of different establishments in the city before finding his favorite barbecue joint in Oklahoma Joe’s (now called Joe’s Kansas City). He loved the restaurant so much that he put it on his list of the 13 restaurants everyone should eat at before they die.

Anthony Bourdain Kansas City
Anthony Bourdain | Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Anthony Bourdain falls in love with Joe’s Kansas City

Bourdain’s trip to Kansas City was featured on his show, A Cook’s Tour. In the episode, titled “The Barbecue Triangle,” Bourdain complimented the city for its amazing barbecue. According to The Pitch, Bourdain noted that people within the city may disagree about which place has the best food, but he believes Joe’s Kansas City takes the cake.

“Here, the brisket (particularly the burnt ends), pulled pork, and ribs are all of a quality that meets the high standards even of Kansas City natives. It’s the best barbecue in Kansas City, which makes it the best barbecue in the world,” he shared.

Anthony Bourdain later added the restaurant to his list of 13 places everyone should eat at before they die. The list was featured in Men’s Health and includes some of the world’s most famous eateries, like The French Laundry, El Bulli, and Le Bernardin.

While his comments were great for Joe’s Kansas City, he was also very complimentary about Kansas City’s barbecue, which is saying a lot coming from someone who has traveled the world like Bourdain.

It is also interesting to see Joe’s Kansas City mentioned in the same list as other, more famous, places in the world. It really is a testament to the quality of food in Kansas City and has certainly added to its barbecue reputation.

Kansas City makes it on Bourdain’s show

In 2012, Kansas City was featured on Bourdain’s hit series, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. In the second episode of the eighth season, Bourdain visited the city along with his good friend, Zamir Gotta.

The two were on a mission to find the best barbecue in the city, and they met up with The Black Keys’ Dan and Patrick along the way.

While Anthony Bourdain toured a few eateries in the area, Gotta took a trip to Leila’s Hair Museum. He also went to his first tailgate party, which was an interesting thing to watch.

Bourdain, of course, left Kansas City very satisfied and had only good things to say about the city’s barbecue restaurants. There are plenty of cities across the United States that have good barbecue, but for Bourdain, Kansas City ranks up there with the best of them.

How many times did Bourdain visit Kansas City?

Bourdain’s first trip to Kansas City was not his last. The celebrity food critic filmed a number of different segments in the city for his various shows.

This includes a scene with The Black Keys at Woodyard BBQ. The segment was featured on the Travel Channel.

He also filmed a scene inside B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ for the network, which was featured on his series, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. He also worked with a band named Ha Ha Tonka, from West Plains, Mo., for an episode on his show.

Bourdain tragically passed away in 2018 from suicide. He was only 61 years old at the time of his death.

Fans react to Anthony Bourdain’s passing

In the days following Bourdain’s death, hundreds of fans took to social media to express how much he made a difference in the lives. The general manager of Cafe Sebastienne in Kansas City, Mickey Priolo, for instance, looked back fondly at the time Bourdain visited the city.

“I’ve staged at Eleven Madison Park in NY and Noma in Copenhagen,” Priolo stated. “He has influenced me to speak with a voice and travel. His voice was international, such a devastating loss.”

Other fans shared their stories about Anthony Bourdain on social media and there was no shortage of uplifting tributes. Celebrity chefs, like Gordon Ramsay and Andrew Zimmern, also shared kind words about Bourdain on social media.

At the time of his death, Bourdain was in the middle of filming a new season of his show, Parts Unknown. He was on location in Strasbourg when his good friend, Eric Ripert, discovered his body.

Following Anthony Bourdain’s death, CNN released a posthumous season of the show. The network filled in the final episodes with narration and a few interviews from guests around the world.