SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 4) – The sudden death of author, culinary star and television personality Anthony Bourdain in an apparent suicide early Friday left those who work at his favorite San Francisco restaurant in shock.
Kevin Sancimono and his family have been serving up seafood at Swan Oyster Depot for 106 years.
“He’d come in here without cameras. People would sit down and be like, ‘Oh my God! That’s Anthony Bourdain over there!'” remembered Sancimono.
The late Bourdain was a regular at this place and joked that fans criticized him for coming to the restaurant on every Bay Area shoot.
“’Every show you’ve ever done in San Francisco, you come to Swan Oyster Depot.’ Yes that’s correct! True love cannot be denied,” Bourdain said in the segment of his show at the restaurant.
Sancimono said when he heard the news Friday morning, he was shaken.
“Couldn’t believe it. Was just a shock. You imagine him coming in here, you know?” said Sancimono. “When is the next time he was going to come in? He just energized so many people.”
Bourdain’s praise for this place couldn’t be higher.
“Swan Oyster Depot, a touchstone in my worldwide wanderings, a happy zone,” Bourdain said about the restaurant. “If I read about myself dying at this counter, I’d say to myself that was one lucky guy.”
It is an institution, one that regulars don’t mind waiting in wrap-around lines around the block for a meal.
It’s unpretentious, straight-forward and doesn’t appear to have changed over the years, much like Bourdain himself.
Fans remember Bourdain for his cadence and candor.
He had the ability to swing by a city and understand the central storyline in one day.
He certainly understood San Francisco.
“According to many locals, the entire character of this city is being leeched out by an invasion of tech people. A flood of tech money. It’s the triumph of the nerds,” Bourdain said during the ‘Parts Unknown’ episode that focused on SF.
Sancimono is just sad he won’t be back.
“You imagine somebody like that coming in for life. It’s a horrible loss,” he said.
Many came to the restaurant on Friday to have a meal in tribute to Bourdain, asking to have his favorite dish. Sancimono said that the chef didn’t have a specific dish he always ate, instead eating whatever those behind the counter recommended as the best bet that day.