Following news of Anthony Bourdain’s death on Friday, fans of the chef and television personality have set up an impromptu memorial outside of the restaurant that helped him achieve fame, Brasserie Les Halles, a French restaurant in New York City
Brasserie Les Halles had two locations in New York, but both of them were closed by 2017. But upon hearing that Bourdain had died by suicide in France, fans of Bourdain poured out to the papered-up restaurant on Park Avenue South to pay their respects to the chef, leaving bottles of whiskey and packs of cigarettes (Bourdain famously loved smoking, but gave up the habit for his daughter) as well as flowers and notes detailing how much Bourdain meant to them outside the restaurant.
“Thank you for bringing a respectful view to the people of Palestine, Libya, Iran, and more,” one person wrote in a note left outside the restaurant. “You brought people together.”
Another person wrote, “I’ve loved you for a long time and will continue loving you. Though I’ve known you from a distance for a decade now, you’ve left an impression on me and many more.”
Every morning when I walk out my door I can either turn right and walk by a fairly decent falafel truck or turn left and walk by the shuttered doors of Les Halles where it all began for Anthony Bourdain. You will be missed, sir. Thank you for everything you shared with the world in your unique iconoclastic fashion. Also, thanks for teaching me to NEVER eat an egg white omelet. “You shouldn't be intimate with anyone who just eats egg white omelettes. I mean, that's the end of a relationship right there.” -Anthony Bourdain #ripanthonybourdain #leshalles #nyc #anthonybourdain #kitchenconfidential #partsunknown
“This world feels more empty without you,” one person wrote. "I've followed you since your days as a world traveler on the Travel Channel's No Reservations. I will continue your spirit, of sitting on plastic stools, on the side of the road, eating street food, conversing with the locals, trying to discover parts unknown.”
To most people, Anthony Bourdain was a bonafide celebrity. He starred in Parts Unknown and No Reservations, he got Barack Obama to slurp noodles with him in Vietnam, and never failed to let his 7.5 million Twitter followers see him unleash his characteristically acerbic tongue on people — usually ones who held a lot of power — who he thought had screwed up.
But before his turn as a celebrity tastemaker, Bourdain was the executive chef at Les Halles. While he was working there, he wrote an essay for The New Yorker, entitled “Don’t Eat Before Reading This.” That essay eventually became Kitchen Confidential, his bestselling book about the restaurant industry that propelled him to fame. Because of this, many of his fans see Brasserie Les Halles as being integral for bringing Bourdain into their lives — which makes it the perfect place to memorialize his life, too.
Bourdain and his trademark restaurant may be gone, but as this tribute shows, his memory and impact will stay with many people for a long time.
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