Whenever I see the name of the show, I can’t help but hear Anthony Bourdain in my head saying, ‘Noooooooooooo Resssservationnnns.’
There are so many mixed reviews on Monday night’s No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. People either thought it was his best show yet or that it was an injustice to our beloved city. I’m inclined to agree with the first group – best show ever. I really enjoyed this episode. It was absolutely hilarious, introduced me to some things I wasn’t familiar with like the bookstore and sausage shoppe, and at the very top of my list was an hour on national TV dedicated to Cleveland. Yes, there were shots of abandon buildings, sewage in the lake, an interesting guy with a colorful jacket (to say the least) talking about the Free Stamp, and Skyline Chili (I’m disappointed they did pick that place – it’s not even a Cleveland thing). Yes, in a perfect world they would have shot the episode in June and visited University Circle, Little Italy and more of Tremont and Ohio City. But it’s not a perfect world and this show is about the point of view as seen through Bourdain, not the Cleveland visitor’s bureau. And we are what we are so let’s embrace it. We’re not a chic LA and will never be. Why would we? I enjoyed Michael Symon, surfers in January, Sokolowski’s, Harvey Pekar (loved him) and cooking in Michael Ruhlman’s kitchen (I want that kitchen).
Maybe it didn’t portray Cleveland in the best possible light, but my sheer giddiness that Cleveland was the feature of this show outweighs that thought. Our city has issues; we all know what they are. The show didn’t say or include anything that wasn’t true. But instead of everyone bashing Bourdain and Ruhlman, how about do your part, whatever it may be, and pitch in to improve things. We have made a lot of progress, but still have a long way to go. We’re not LA or NYC and frankly, I wouldn’t want to be. I chose to live here for a reason. Not because I settled for less but because I want to continue calling Cleveland home. And I’m not alone. Whatever your viewpoint was on the show, the bottom line is they filmed here. We could have easily been passed up for another city. And that is due to Michael Ruhlman. Bottom line, Cleveland has received a lot of national attention lately: CEO of Cleveland Schools on Today, NBA championships, numerous mentions in Food & Wine and more to come in the November issue, LeBron is hosting the season opener of SNL and plenty of other great things that have happened this year. We’re not perfect, but I think that’s part of our charm.