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Bourdain’s Rust Belt Episode: Tonight’s the Night

Lest you’ve forgotten, tonight is the night the Travel Channel will air the Episode of Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations, in which Bourdain visits Buffalo, along with two other Rust Belt cities, Baltimore and Detroit.

Local rock and video impresario, Nelson Starr of is throwing a bash tonight at the Pearl Street Brew Pub for a public screening of the broadcast of Bourdain’s Rust Belt episode, which airs at 10PM.  The Travel Channel piece will be preceded by Starr’s own TrueBlue episodes, produced by award-winning filmmaker, John Paget, including Starr’s contest entry to the Travel Channel that focused Bourdain on Buffalo in the first place.  (Thank you once again, Nelson!)

The fun starts at 7:30, and everyone is welcome to attend.  Be sure to check for updates on Bourdain’s blog for his own words about his visit to Buffalo, with stops at Ulrich’s, Schwabl’s and Nietzsche’s.

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  1. “No Reservations” is easily one of the best shows on TV and I could not be more excited to see how Buffalo comes across. I also submitted a fan video to try and bring him here, clearly Nelson did a better job. I am glad that we finally get to show off through the eyes of an honest critic like Bourdain.

  2. this was filmed in the dead of winter and you can tell from the intro that they will be showing nothing but boarded up neighborhoods in all 3 cities. this probably isnt going to be a positive plug for buffalo

  3. The episode was anything but a positive spotlight on Buffalo. Boarded up houses, snow and a couple run down spots. The least they could’ve done is showcased the cuisine but that was too much to ask for. Not sure who produces the show but they did an awful job with each of the cities. I was really disappointed with the episode, not that I’ve ever been a fan of the show.

  4. Rust Belt! There couldnt possibly be 3 more different cities!
    Baltimore…hardly rustbelt anymore…much of it is integrated into the Washington DC metropolis.
    Buffalo…like Baltimore is also benefiting for its similar proximity to Toronto. Yes, Buffalo has lost alot but Buffalo is even doing better than Cleveland…infact Id say that Buffalo seems to be carving a path in between the success and failures of Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
    Detroit…well…if ever there was a toilet bowl of the rust belt then it would be Detroit. Detroit has very little saving it. Its to far from Chicago, Indianapolis or Cleveland and its canadian counter-part Windsor…is of very little benefit since it was highly dependent on the Detroit economy.
    None of the city’s will ever shed the blue collar roots or personalities. Boston is far bigger and wealthier…and its still has a very strong and distinctly blue collar sensability. Frankly I think its a good thing.
    Id like to look ahead 20-30-40 years and see what Buffalo would be life before I pass away and leave the city to the next generation.

  5. this is the first i have seen this show, not much for tv. they say any publicity is good publicity. not so sure. i did not find it a true representation of buffalo, nor its food. on top of it it seems mr bourdain was more in love with nelson than the food. im never one to leave negative feedback, but I was not impressed, at all.

  6. Buffalo got hosed. Ulrich’s segment was incredibly short. Schwabel’s got some decent airtime (just try and get a table for lunch there today!). They showed pictures of a tray of Ted’s food but looks like that part wound up on the cutting room floor.
    On the bright side they did show and mention our wonderful architecture.

  7. I thought it was okay but they didn’t even start Buffalo until almost 10:50 then there were 2 commercials. There was too much stuff about that musician, whom I never even heard of. Plus when Anthony asked that guy about the big communities in Buffalo he didn’t even mention the Irish. And why were they at his house doing a pig roast? Why were they not in the city showcasing another Buffalo restaurant? Over all, the Buffalo segment made little sense and showed the city off very little. Plus Ulrich’s is nothing uniquely Buffalo. I have never eaten there and have never heard anything about the place until tonight. I think they only went there because of how old the place is. I thought the Baltimore segment was nice because of the Wire references.

  8. It seemed to me, for Baltimore and Detroit they showed nothing but boarded up houses, but not as much for Buffalo. They should have replaced the snowmobile bit with something else. I think maybe a ‘tale of two cities’ episode may have been better, because it was to short for each city. The cuisine could have been far better showcased, but for anyone who has never seen his show, he was never going to go to one of our fine dining establishments, in 90% of his shows and the places he visits he always goes to the street food venders and common folk type places. In the end, i think Buffalo came off the least boarded up and shuttered as the other two. Perhaps the show should have been just Baltimore and Buffalo.

  9. To be fair, I haven’t watched the whole episode yet (I DVR’d it) but in the first 15 minutes, you could see where this episode was headed. How many times did Bourdain say that these cities are really f***** up? Buffalo has it’s crap politicians and scary neighborhoods but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that about it. We are slowly making a comeback but I’ll have more to say when I watch the whole thing. I’m a little pissed at Bourdain right now.

  10. I agree, a whole 10 minutes [15 w/ commercials], it’s also official, time to give up on “Buffalo” wings all the time, he totally dissed them. On the upside, they showed better footage on the city itself and stayed out of the getto area’s unlike the other city’s. The pig roast looked fun but could’nt they do better than Beef on Weck and the dissed wings in the food department?

  11. Let’s see; the Erie Canal was mentioned (Hmm, Who built that?)
    Ulrich’s was shown, a German place that for some reason features Irish Music!
    Nietzsche’s was shown, which holds a seisun once a week!
    I guess Irish Need Not Apply in Boy Star’s world.
    Could we also not hve the most in-depth portion be a restaurant in West Seneca?
    Next time Nelson should choose his “reality” programming more carefully perhaps, extreme makeover. Have his place done. That will do more for Buffalo than this did.

  12. An outdoor pig roast in winter?? Seriously? 40 years in Buffalo, I’ve not heard/seen a winter pig roast as they depicted. How does that showcase Buffalo and its food heritage in a unique perspective? No disrespect, but they ordered wings from Ulrich’s? No mention of the Irish population in WNY? Nelson playing at Nietzsche’s for a good portion of the segment? Ouch.
    I do however agree with the other architecture related comments that at least they did include some footage that was not boarded up buildings, steel plants or grain elevators.

  13. I liked it. Cold outside, warm inviting places on the inside. Showed some great architecture and unique places to eat. The show wasn’t so much about food as much as it was about real, resilient people. I think Buffalo looked quirky and welcoming in the middle of winter.

  14. I guess you guys never watch the show. He usually has a local person show him around and most of the time they end up at a someones house for a local dinner. I’ve been to tons of pig roasts, and yes during the winter. Most of them took place in the surrounding burbs. In fact just go to a Bills game in December if you don’t want to look too hard. This show usually focuses on surrounding areas, so get over the fact that everything wasn’t based in the city limits. So let me get this right, people are complaining that Buffalo is only known for wings, yet get mad when they don’t feature wings. Also people are upset becasue he didn’t mention the Irish? The Irish have one of the most obnoxious celebrations of the year, everywhere you look there is an Irish pub, and you were part of one of the biggest migrations to America. It’s pretty much common knowledge that every city in America was effected by the Irish, so get over the fact that a 10 minute segment didn’t mention anything Irish. If you’ve ever watched the show, AB will always find something snarky or negative to say, even if he’s in a tropical paradise. His whole shtick is that he’s an arrogant, quirky, eccentric, and at times a baby. His shows are never a fluff piece, yet he always manages to find great food and even greater people. For people who are so negative towards the city, you sure take offense quickly to others who criticize. By the way if you actually read the blogs on Travel Channel’s website they AB and his cohort talk about how Buffalo was their favorite place during the filming.

  15. After living in DC for 7-years before moving here last Sept, I have spent plenty of time in Balmore as they say in the Wire (best series ever btw). Baltimore is a city on the rise and is closely connected to DC. Of course, if you look, you will find very bad areas. Heck, in DC you can find very bad areas. Anyway, as another poster stated, it was clear what spin this show was going to take.
    I personally found the depictions of Balmore and Buffalo to be very unfair. I can’t comment on Detroit as I has never been there.
    At the end of the day, if were living in Phoenix and thinking of relocating to Buffalo, the show would have seriously made me reconsider. A. Bourdaine casted the three cities in a very poor light.
    Going to Buffalo specifically, thanks to N. Carr for getting A. Bourdaine here, but c’mon, I thought we were watching a Nelson Carr paid infomercial.

  16. Most obnoxious celebrations of the year?
    “It’s pretty much common knowledge that every city in America was effected by the Irish, so get over the fact that a 10 minute segment didn’t mention anything Irish.”
    Nelson was asked about who made up the populus….he replied, Italian/Polish/German and African American.
    I don’t give a rat’s ass if the BIC or any other Irish Pub is mentioned….facts are facts….Buffalo has one of the largest concentrations of Irish and Irish Americans in the United States. While everything else dies away in Buffalo our obnoxious parade is still in the top ten in the States..
    As I stated before, if this weren’t the case, why do two of the featured bars showcase Irish Music?

  17. From Bourdain’s blog:
    Back in the days of our FAN-atic special, Nelson Starr could have pitched us on anyplace on earth. He had the camera, the talented video personnel, technical skills, the smarts, and sense of humor to make a very entertaining and compelling presentation that could have convinced us to take him to Bali..or Rio… Instead? He pitched his hometown of Buffalo. In winter, no less. You have to respect that. It certainly made an impression on me. What’s seldom mentioned when discussing Buffalo is how beautiful it is, especially in winter…The tiny red neon lights of the saloons inviting in the snow and the dark. Another delightfully demented breed of hard drinking gastronomes … And, it turns out, a sizeable Zamir Gotta fan club. Yes, I’m quite sure there’s somebody’s idea of “better” beef-on-wek somewhere else … and that we missed (fill in blank here) and that there’s somebody doing really excellent fine dining across town, but again, this misses the point.
    One of the “take-aways” from this show, I hope, is that people who might never in a million years have considered Buffalo as a place to visit, will say “Hey! Buffalo actually looks pretty cool!” Like Cleveland, it’s become a sentimental favorite.

  18. Get over it indeed, whether it was stupid or offensive, is it really that big of a deal. Its not like all the questions were pre-planned, like when the president gives a speech and then takes questions.

  19. According to Wikipedia; “South Buffalo is a predominantly working-class Irish American neighborhood that makes up the southern third of the City of Buffalo, New York, USA. It has one of America’s largest concentrations of Irish Americans west of the Hudson River.”
    I know its Wikipedia, and you have to take that with a grain of salt, but I would say that not mentioning the Irish was a pretty big omission. I know that there use to be a bit of unspoken divide between the Irish and Polish communities in the city, I wonder if this shows a bit of that.

  20. According to Wikipedia; “South Buffalo is a predominantly working-class Irish American neighborhood that makes up the southern third of the City of Buffalo, New York, USA. It has one of America’s largest concentrations of Irish Americans west of the Hudson River.”
    I know its Wikipedia, and you have to take that with a grain of salt, but I would say that not mentioning the Irish was a pretty big omission. I know that there use to be a bit of unspoken divide between the Irish and Polish communities in the city, I wonder if this shows a bit of that.

  21. I understand that Anthony Bourdain was trying to weave Baltimore, Detroit and Buffalo into a larger narrative in his usual gritty, smokey way — actually, where was the smoke this time? — but the cities came across as stereotypes: the thing that Bourdain tries to avoid. He didn’t really achieve the insight that he tried to find. Instead, he left us with the question that he introduced: what happened to these places? He said he really didn’t think about Buffalo before and I was left with the conclusion that he probably won’t think of Buffalo, Baltimore or Detroit much now, either. That’s okay. It was nice that he visited.
    I have to say, though, that I thought feather bowling was cool and I could picture such a place thriving in Buffalo. If someone tries to introduce it to Buffalo, maybe this episode won’t be such a let down after all.

  22. I concur. I was in a bar in Brooklyn a few months back, a real speakeasy kind of pub, and they had 2 bocce ball lanes in the bar, it was pretty classy. I can imagine a place like that in the b-lo but with feather bowling and great beers would be a real hit.

  23. I love it when tv shows come to “Buffalo” but end up going to Schwables (sp?) in West Seneca, and a Pig Roast, somewhere in Hamburg or Orchard Park. Bourdain probably went nowhere near Buffalo.
    Oh and I agree that we should start moving away from the Anchor Bar being THE place for wings. It is not the best wing joint in town, not even in the top ten actually. Why can’t we nominate ourselves for having THE best pizza in the country?
    That’s my rant over. Later.

  24. skweeki, best pizza? Don’t get me started on my rant. When Buffalo pizzerias use fresh buffalo (not packaged cow) mozzarella, fresh dough and fresh ingredients, I’ll give the city a second chance. Until that time, only a small handful of New York City pizzerias remain the holy grail. Since Bourdain shares my views, I’ll stop ranting on that topic now.

  25. Bourdain has the palate of 50 year old, chain-smoking, alchoholic….oh wait, thats because he is a 50ish-year old chain-smoking alchoholic. But his show is great.

  26. What a bunch of whining, misinformed dolts. And you’re truly part of small, pathetic minority. The praise and support of this program is well beyond your pay-grade. Where to start first…it’s boggling…???
    First off, read Tony’s blog… …It clarifies half of the bone-headed crap here.
    Next, I do believe I said “Irish” in there somewhere, I may have gone on too long and they cut it altogether. This is TV kids, things are edited. If I didn’t say it, I apologize…sort of… because it would have been merely an omission and I would have certainly meant to credit our Irish community for sure. Anyone who knows me or knows my work = MY food show = would know that I did a WHOLE EPISODE on the Old First Ward and the Irish community…and it was a freakin’ love fest from me to Buffalo’s Irish-American community! See: …but no one bothers with trivialities like that!? …like research and facts.
    Next, I really have to believe that most of the haters and critics here really do not watch or simply do not understand Tony’s show. Tony is very consistent, especially when it comes to covering his own country – the good ole USA. The guy is a proletarian all the way to his bones (if you don’t know what that is, see wikipedia or something). Sure, he likes fine food and is a very well read guy, but his sympathies, his personal ethos and visual (and musical) aesthetic are very blue collar, very punk rock, very anti-Chamber of Commerce styled promo. He will undoubtedly cover a place from that quasi low-brow perspective, when available, every time. That’s what he’s always done and merely did here. He wants to know about the little guy, and he feels more at home in a run down industrial site than in some swanky hotel lobby or restaurant. He literally detests trendy, hot spot stuff. He wants to know where the locals eat – and the locals do eat at those places covered in the show…they’re always packed and beloved! It’s his show and he’s sticking to his way of filming it – which could be best captured on a rough hued, battered, bruised, and torn reel of celluloid. He’s an ex-junkie and punk rock aficionado. This is his shtick. …always has been. Why the surprise now Buffalo???
    As for the food…people always like to say bad stuff about Ulrich’s and it’s bull****. Are they the best German restaurant in town…well, probably not. But they are a local favorite that offers a good selection of old style Buffalo fare, done well. Plus, they are the oldest continually running restaurant/bar in Buffalo…and that is worth something. Ultimately, Tony and his producers, given a plethora of choices as to where to go, chose it! I felt it was more than apt. …in fact, I know that it truly is.
    When it comes to Schwabl’s, I just won’t stand for bashing of that place. Also one of the oldest restaurants in Buffalo (going back to the mid-1800’s but… as one tool stated at Chow, “it’s only been at the current location since 1942″…only???!!!), Schwabl’s is like stepping back in time to see what classic Buffalo food was and is all about. And that IS what Tony is all about!! If you don’t get that, you are simply retarded. But, is the beef the best in WNY? As all things culinary are ultimately subjective, one could argue all night whether Eckl’s is better or Charlie’s is better…and geeks do that! And that’s fine! But it is also true that many geeks think Schwabl’s IS the best …and certainly it ranks in the top 5, let’s say. BFD if you have a pet place you think is better. Schwabl’s is certainly respectable and at, or near, the top of the heap. Grow up if something so childish as this is a deal breaker for you. “Vanilla is better”, “no, Chocolate!”. Please!
    Another aspect that I touched upon earlier also is at play here. This is a TV show!! It is a visual medium. Like it or not, the whole tri-city show is attempting to maintain a certain aesthetic – one that, as I stated before – corresponds to Tony’s own aesthetical preferences. Tony likes “Americana” – think Johnny Cash to the Stooges and Ramones. He grew up in the late 60’s and grew to adulthood in the CBGB’s version of New York’s 70’s …and certain things that harken back to those formative experiences, not surprisingly, resonate within his peculiar, twisted-up psyche. He likes what he likes! And he’s built a career around that – very successfully, I might add. Alas, these restaurants have the visual and culinary feel and aesthetic that worked for what Tony was trying to say. Schwabl’s was especially perfect in this regard and was clearly the best match for a No Reservations shoot out of any WNY Beef joint. It’s not ALL about food folks. It’s about a much larger artistic presentation.
    Quickly, as for snowmobiling. I can’t believe that this pastime is being so criticized…? OK, then what winter sport here – and Tony’s show ALWAYS has a “sports” segment – would have been the perfect Buffalo one??? Skiing…too far outta town and not really Buffalo, right haters? Figure skating? Ice fishing? …we were going to do that but the water was still…water! Snowmobiling is, believe it or not, very popular in WNY. Virtually every municipality in the area has an active club. We chose the Grand Island club for it’s dual waterfront aspect. It was a beautiful shoot – showing the river and the largest freshwater Island going! Too bad time restricted it so much. Also, snowmobiling is a macho-ish kinda sport, the kind that matches Tony’s amped-up demeanor and contrasted with feather bowling nicely. Look, you also have to ALWAYS consider what happened in the other cities/segments …and even other recent episodes! Certain choices were made solely on that basis, believe it or not, so as to not be redundant and to be complimentary or contrasting.
    As for my resume, It’s somewhere on my website: I’m in the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. If you haven’t heard of me, I wouldn’t brag about that.
    Lastly and MOST importantly, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations is not, and never has claimed to be, the last word on anything. Rather, it merely showcases Tony’s own very personal and unique approach and perspective on all the things that excite HIM. It’s his trip, we’re just along for the ride. If you aren’t digging it, unlike LSD, you can get off.
    As you can see first-hand, the show often will only give you one angle or, dare I say, a narrow but interesting perspective on a sometimes abstract topic. It’s a rumination that emanates directly from Tony’s bizarre psyche to yours, if you so choose to psychically commingle. The show you just watched wasn’t about Buffalo – in it’s entirety, triangulated as to recreate some “objective” version of reality. Instead Tony seeks to illuminate just what it is that excites him – what HE is interested in (be it the Wire or some local yokel musician). That’s what ultimately drives a person to check out a place – it might be one damn weird thing they have there that makes a person travel to that destination! Tony attempts to represent what it is that made him feel compelled to visit – a representation that often may be sadly at odds with yours but that also might excite someone else – and certainly, for fans who adore Tony, represents something that often might move them to check out our city. It’s simply a starting point for whomever digs Tony’s always singular perspective and nothing more. That’s what the show is and has always been predicated on and is simply about.
    Yes, it’s about Tony! Along the way we meet his friends and share a drink or a meal at some joint that he or they feel like going to – that moves them! More random sample than best-of contest winner, the food portion and what is featured is relative to the recommendations of people Tony has rapport with and to his own seen-it-all predilections. Like any representation of reality, three steps or more removed, it’s only an abstract, a glimpse, and a chance to travel with Tony – going where he feels like going and hanging with friends he feels like sharing a laugh with…nothing more. Haters and critics, you take Tony – and ultimately yourselves – far too seriously. This is entertainment!! …with only a small truly informational component. Yes, it is art, of a particular sort – where Bourdain is the food-addled, beer-drunk author. You either go with it, or you become paranoid and bothersome! So lighten up!!
    Nelson Starr

  27. Nelson, great job getting the show to Buffalo. I think you’re just a little off base here coming on the board and calling people “dolts”. We all come to Buffalo Rising day in and day out in hopes of keeping the discussion of Buffalo alive. I think all the complaints I’ve read have been 100% valid with the exception of the “Irish” issue. The show failed to showcase Buffalo in a positive light. I’m sure you’ve had bad gig or album reviews and you take it with a grain of salt. We all want Buffalo to be showcased as the place we know it is and its rare that you get an opportunity like this to make that happen to a large audience.

  28. Oh, one more thing. Tony went to Vassar and you know the typical cats that stroll through there. If you need a lesson go check out NYC Prep on Bravo. That’s a visual medium you won’t soon forget.

  29. Look,
    Apart from a few of you here, you are seriously in the minority and don’t GET the show. I’m sorry. It’s too difficult apparently for you…insults intended I guess.
    The praise that I have fielded since the show has been aired is overwhelmingly positive, from politicians, to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, to most every Buffalonian. I just really can’t envision just what it is that offends your conception of Buffalo? …especially in light of a show that consistently frames most every US city in a similar light. Tony “get’s off” on the gutter art parts of existence. he wanted to find that somewhere – to revel in it – and we had exactly what he was looking for. He loved it!!! Can’t you accept that there are those that dig that, and that this is a positive. Your saccharine view of what and how Buffalo is and should be portrayed is not everyone’s cup of tea. T
    ony does what he does and has been doing for years and years. What could you possibly expect when his goal from the outset was to tell one story – the story of post-industrial cities and how they are faring… but not from the winners circle, but from the perspective of the average struggling folk. He doesn’t do “up with people” shows, he does his “thing” which, if you don’t get it, you never will.
    He did it here, and most people enjoyed it and got it. For those few who don’t, just get over it, look in the mirror and try to figure out why you’re so insecure. There is a Buffalo for everyone, you should celebrate that yet another person of note has been able to find HIS Buffalo and call it “home”.

  30. I have lived here for 23 years and have never heard of the Hall of Fame. Maybe instead of me not “bragging” about knowing about the place, maybe they should be more active in getting the word out. I just asked the 4 other people in the room with me, all of different ages, and they too have never heard of the Hall of Fame.

  31. Wow. I knew this episode would produce some debate. First off I want to say that I am not originally from Buffalo.Imoved here because of the architecture and the grass roots arts and music scene. It is also very affordable compared to where I came from. What I’ve learned about Buffalo in the 5 years that I’ve been here couldn’t possibly be conveyed in 10-15 minutes or even an entire hour on television.
    What was represented on the show IS true about Buffalo, the problem was that it’s not the whole truth. There are some very unique, fine dining experiences to be had in this city and it would be nice if there were a way to let the rest of the world see that. Buffalo is not all about snow, chicken wings and die hard blue collar stalwarts sticking it out against all odds. It would also have been nice to see something about the urban farming effort and the people commited to finding new viability for an old rust belt city. I know B’lo Rising is an org that promotes the positive things about Buffalo and the way we are trying to change our image. In that regard this was definately not the right show.
    I do want to add one thing that is unrelated to the show. I wish that in some of the more upscale establishments(say in Elmwood Village) the staff would realize that being stuck up and unapproachable does not a trendy place make. Seriously this happens ALOT here -in restaurants, small boutiques and hair salons. Just a suggestion.

  32. I don’t know Nelson, but after watching this show he seems like a very genuine person.. Just because you have never heard of the “Music Hall of Fame”, who cares?? Someone here is proud of their accomplishments, let’s put them down!! Nice.. I’d like to see your favorite life accomplishments listed so all the unaware people on this board (like yourself) could post negative, unaware posts about how their accomplishments are BS.. real productive, good for you.
    Anyways, I’ve lived in this city for five years now, and this episode showed many of the reasons I love Buffalo.. Cold weather but warm people. Great meals at any time of the day at the most random location you could imagine.
    Too many of you are so obsessed with the outside perception of this city that you forget why it’s such a great place.. Buffalo is a good city, warts and all. If something on this episode bothered you so much that you need to put down the guy who brought the production here, then you really need to consider why you even bother reading sites like this.. Your negativity brings us all down.

  33. Maybe all us BRO dolts can get together and make our own show, highlighting what we think is important about Buffalo? I mean, Starr has his own show online, and all he does is bite Tony’s style? It can’t be that hard!

  34. I don’t know Nelson, but after watching this show he seems like a very genuine person.. Just because you have never heard of the “Music Hall of Fame”, who cares?? Someone here is proud of their accomplishments, let’s put them down!! Nice.. I’d like to see your favorite life accomplishments listed so all the unaware people on this board (like yourself) could post negative, unaware posts about how their accomplishments are BS.. real productive, good for you.
    Anyways, I’ve lived in this city for five years now, and this episode showed many of the reasons I love Buffalo.. Cold weather but warm people. Great meals at any time of the day at the most random location you could imagine.
    Too many of you are so obsessed with the perception of this city that you forget why it’s such a great place.. Buffalo is a good city, warts and all. If something on this episode bothered you so much that you need to put down the guy who brought the production here, then you really need to consider why you even bother reading sites like this.. Your negativity brings us all down.

  35. Like everyone else on BRO I have my thoughts, idea’s and opinions, being called a dolt for that raised my hackles. The Buffalo few minutes were better than the other cities, the pig roast as I mentioned was very cool as Anthony always does a family dinner and they had the balls to do a outdoor winter roast and make the best of snow and cold, along with the fact that the show did not dwell on the ghetto area’s of Buffalo as they did in Detroit and Baltimore. If Nelson can’t take the heat, get the hell out of the kitchen. I grew up in Buffalo and left, moved back for 5 years and for business reasons along with really, really bad politics and a poorly run City Hall [I made the mistake of moving to a ****ty corner of Allentown w/ Brian Davis as my representation] moved away again. I do know Buffalo is better than wings and beef on weck. What amazes me is people in Buffalo think no place else on earth compares to Buffalo. One negative comment on the City or anything about it and all hell breaks lose, yet ya’ll can slam any other city or the people living in them. All city’s have their charm, warts and all. Like it or not. Get over it and take BRO for what it is, a place for people to voice their thoughts and opinions for the better of the city down the road. Which is something as a group effert everyone is actually hoping for.

  36. Nelson, I’m sorry for the taunting you’ve taken here along with your feeling that you had to defend yourself against it. I believe that your efforts in bringing Bourdain to town deserves a key to the city rather than the derision of a few. And to believe that you had any control over editing the show, well, that’s just not how it works, as you say. It reminds me of the saying “no good deed goes unpunished”.
    I thought the Bourdain piece showed a fun, quirky side of the city, and you deserve any and all attention that you received – as deemed by the producers of the show. As for the Hall of Fame, I will do better to cover it on these pages because it is a venerable institution that honors Buffalo’s best musicians and people should know it.
    Thanks again for sharing Buffalo with Bourdain and vice versa.

  37. I had an interesting conversation last night with the usual Wednesday night crew at Ulrich’s(mostly professionals, that are transplants from elsewhere, that L O V E Buffalo and WNY).
    Most people liked it. There were a few that didn’t but they seemed to be the people that either generally don’t like Bourdain or are always looking for something to complain about.
    Nelson, I think you should be proud of the accomplishment of getting someone, who admittedly had never even thought of Buffalo, to not only come here, but say it’s now one of his sentimental favorites. Thank you.

  38. I posted this at BuffaloChow WITH the comments I’ve received lately… BuffaloChow chose to edit those comments out, citing profanity. Nice excuse (see below)
    “I’ve been following this mostly sad discussion over here for days just biting my tongue. I really have always admired this site and the reviews are invaluable. However, I think that BuffaloChow has blown it!!! …not only in their rather self-serving panning of the No Reservations show but also in their way-outside-the-bell-curve of public opinion slamming of Schwabl’s. …which is just very transparently biased and from left-field. In fact, the bias against both of these entities, connected to a program (No Reservations) that BuffaloChow actually lobbied to accompany Tony on a food tour of Buffalo (to no avail), that you did not disclose in your article slamming No Reservations, was an act of NON – disclosure that hurts your otherwise fine reputation as food bloggers/journalists. And, sorry I didn’t go to Charlie the Butcher and wherever else you deemed better. That seems like a lot of childishness and sour grapes to me. As for the surprise over the aesthetical choice of Tony Bourdain to cover the three cities in a way that corresponds to his own personal shtick, the ethos of his show, and his punk-rock instincts, I think that all the critics here should’ve known better. It’s as if you don’t watch the show…? That’s what Tony does, period. Tony’s style is very consistent, and for folks to expect him to do a presentation that is not fitting with his “f—– up” style, is just naive. …a categorical error really.
    Anyway, there is much more that could be said here, that I planned to say, but I think the praise and love FOR Buffalo that this program generated obviates, prima facia, this entirely speculative discussion about how “hurt” Buffalo is by this program. The program has and will do nothing but GOOD for Buffalo for years to come except in the minds of an overly vocal minority who feels compelled by some strange force or insecurity to view it as dire. Below are REAL notes that have been sent to me or posted that show a swelling of support. Look, some people get it, some people don’t. How many of you critics and haters can say that something you’ve done lately has helped people feel they need to move back to Buffalo??
    Paranoia may destroy ya,
    Nelson Starr
    “F*** responding. F*** the haters. They deserve nothing. Great job. Buffalo is a dirty, rotting, beautiful, wonderful place with great people. THAT is what came across last night. And that is why we’re moving back. Look forward to meeting you upon our arrival.”
    “Nelson, my friends that live in other states and my brother in San Diego all
    watched and were moved by how Tony talked about the city and you ! You
    represented this community so well and YOU made him see what we all try to get
    people to understand about our great city. They were also dying for a beef on
    weck and wings after watching!”
    “Nelson, you were BRILLIANT!!!! I thought it was a wonderful and UNIQUE portrayal of Buffalo, actually…….it was amazing that you got that kind of national coverage of the city…..and it was GREAT to see you on stage again!! I was incredibly impressed by you and the story. I think you should be extraordinarily proud of yourself, my friend.”
    “My wife happened to catch the show on Travel Channel while I was working…she said it put our city in a really good light. I hope they replay it soon….”
    “Man, what a great episode…his series on America has been very well done, really promoting America as a truly interesting working class cultural haven, and hopefully dispelling the image that many foreigners have of the USA that we are nothing more than just an oversized, wealthy bunch of wasteful, spoiled brats…”
    “To all the haters – when you take the initiative to produce and send in a demo tape then you can complain. Why does everyone always feel Buffalo is so entitlled? If not for Nelson I guarantee he wouldn’t of made a stop here . Nelson, who is Buffalo Chow ? I have never heard of them and just looked at their site? They look like a couple of non-productive idiots , I guarantee they live in Buffalo cause they have no other choice. Those are usually the types who refuse to see the city for what it is . Its NOT your show people, if you dont like it then start your own. AB has his vision and is pursuing it , as is Nelson – what are YOU DOING ?… Read More
    By the way…
    Snowmobiling was an ideal way to showcase the Buffalo snow . It was aesthetically pleasing and if you have any contacts that live 12 miles outside of Buffalo then you’ll realize the sport is VERY common here. Sorry to go off on a tangent but its always the people who don’t make any effort that complain.”
    “The episode made me miss Buffalo even more. Success.”
    “Oh how much I miss Schwabls…their white coated beef carvers…but also I recall getting a pretty tasty sandwich at Charlie the Butcher at the Broadway Market… also Eckls In OP… never went to Anacones on Bailey but know they had quite the reputation…Oh how I miss ETS…I read some criticism of shooting the grain elevators….I loved to go shoot down there cause it was so beautiful in my mind…and the social commentary but mostly the stark beauty…”
    “what came across to me was TB talking at Scwabl’s… when you can tell that he genuinely liked a place (i.e. Buffalo)… then who cares if they showed some grain elevators…(which I still think look awesome).”
    “Nelson… That how it always is….a small number of lost or closed minded people speak for the masses, because the masses are figure well most people think like me so why should I speak up or join in? and next thing we know we got _______ oh I will let everyone fill in their own Bush Joke.”
    “all i have to say is that i wish he had time to go to the amazing jamaican and peutro rican places we have here.. three days isnt enough time to cover all we have to offer.but at the same time he was positive about our city..and you cant hate on.”
    “I just wanted to let you know that I caught the segment and I thought it was
    great. Sorry I couldn’t make it to Buffalo for the screening but it was a
    “school” night. If you guys ever have a get together on a weekend night let me
    know I will drop in if I can! Again, great show.”
    “That was a cool episode. I thought is definitely gave a real feel for what the
    people of this area are about.”
    “Hey Nelson, You did Buffalo Proud!! The show was a great plug for Buffalo,
    Do not let 20 or 30 morons on Buffalo Rising ruin it. I have got nothing but great responsies.
    Maybe we can have a post party and you can give the people stuff
    that only you know about Anthony’s Bourdain’s visit to Buffalo. well done buddy!”
    “I’m truly sorry for the online bull****. I only meant to praise you for your efforts, and I think everything came off beautifully. Consider the source of the few idiotic comments and try not to be too upset. You did a great job in promoting our city several times over and the whiners are whiners because they could never hope to meet what you’ve accomplished here.”
    “Congratulations and thank you for the other night! We had a great time and the show was great. It really captured the essence of what makes this a great community to be a part of. You did Buffalo proud.”

  39. Thanks for bringing Bourdain to Buffalo, Nelson. I’m a big fan of AB, and knowing what he’s like, I knew he’d love Buffalo (the man loves Cleveland; how can he not love Buffalo?) A native Buffalonian, I have since settled in California, and I’ve come to realize that (some) people in Buffalo will find just about to complain about. And here’s one more example. I thought the show was great, and it showcased exactly what Buffalo has to offer: great people, great community. Bottom line, his show is as much about food as it is about getting to know the soul of a community or region. I think it did just that.

  40. Nelson,
    Thank you for bringing Bourdain to Buffalo. You did a great job of showing him why we love this place. I think the show did justice to Buffalo. Buffalo is f-cked up, no matter how much some of the people on here might like to think otherwise. But despite that, this place has a character and feel that is just can’t be described. The show managed to show that, even in the limited time devoted to Buffalo. Anthony Bourdain has been all over the world. He isn’t afraid to say if he doesn’t like a place (Romania comes to mind). But he told you that he liked it here, and he could see why you went to the trouble of explaining why you love this place. And I could tell that he wasn’t expecting to find here what he did, and that he was surprised.
    I’m glad he went to Detroit and Baltimore as well, I think it reinforced the point he was trying to make: that even though the rust belt has had better days, it is full of unique and friendly people, along with some fantastic down – to – Earth food. He managed to show a lot of the rest of the country and world that there is life here, that there is a reason people live here and are proud to say they are from Buffalo. I have lived on and off in the area for the past several years because of school, and people from other parts of the country that I deal with know that I love this place with a sort of fanaticism. This place is like a strange drug. I don’t think I could live anywhere else and feel the same way I do here. It’s not just that it’s home, it’s like family . I think there was something Bourdain said during the Detroit part of the show that summed it up best. The part where Anthony was talking to the owners of the Cadieux. He understood that they don’t want to live anywhere else, they just want it to be better. That seems to me to be the whole purpose of this website. You are certainly doing more than your share to make Buffalo a little bit better.
    I have to admit that I wasn’t familiar with you before you were on the contestant special. But both Bourdain and I admire that you have stayed close to your roots, that you do what you do well without leaving to chase pretensions of fame. I think you are an excellent example of what makes this place great. It’s people like you why I will stay in Buffalo when I am done with school. Mr Bourdain said it best, Buffalo is truthfully a “f-cked up city that I kinda like.” Don’t let the detractors get you down; considering that a lot of these people post on a website devoted to improving Buffalo one step at a time, it seems a lot of them seem to be missing the forest for the trees. Who cares if Schwabl’s isn’t in the city. West Seneca is much a part of Buffalo life as anything. Aren’t we supposed to be thinking regionally these days? My ancestry is Irish, and I don’t care that you didn’t mention them when you were explaining the ethnic makeup of the area.
    You are truly an asset to the city and the area. I thank you from my heart that you went to all the trouble that you did to get Buffalo on No Reservations. As a longtime fan of the show, I never thought I’d see Bourdain come to Buffalo, and thanks to your hard work he did. Keep up the good work my friend!

  41. As was posted (and explained in greater detail) on Buffalo Chow – there was no truth whatsoever to the allegation that we had lobbied No Reservations or Anthony Bourdain to join them on their Rust Belt visit to Buffalo. We and Nelson have put out a joint statement addressing the debate, in hopes that Western New Yorkers can come together to effectively promote our area:

  42. The show was horrible. I’ve watched Anthony since his early days on Food TV, so I don’t want any “i liked him waaaay before you did!” bull from one of Mr. Starr’s pseudo-intellectual replies. People in the Low are going to have different opinions on this show. We have different haunts and different getaways. You like the Pink? Oh, well I like Cole’s. You like Wasabi, well I like Sea Bar. So, I highly doubt Nelson was out carting the camera crew and producers around. Regardless. The show was awful. 10 minutes of seeing Anthony trolling through what seemed like a guest list Nelson sent out to his family and friends. Yeah, snowmobiling is awesome. Watching it on television, however, is not. It was boring and unimpressive. Im not going to bash Nelson, even though his whiny, holier than thou, ****y attitude deserves some serious re-adjusting.
    But I will say this to Mr. Nelson. It WASN’T you who brought Tony to Buffalo. It was Buffalo that brought him here. Get over yourself. In 5 minutes we’ll be over it too.

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