Season 6 of the popular CNN Show Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown brought the popular television personality to San Francisco. Bourdain makes a pit stop across the bay to sip Mai Tai’s with writer Sean Wilsey at Emeryville’s own Trader Vic’s. The two discuss the ongoing subject of gentrification and the impact it’s having on the area’s culture.
“One of the last of its kind. Started in Oakland. One of a wave of Tiki themed Polynesian fantasy bars and nightclubs that for a time spread across America” describes Bourdain as he orders a Mai Tai Wave (A trio of Mai Tai’s served on a mini wood surf board).
Trader Vic’s originally opened in Oakland on San Pablo Avenue in 1937 and moved to its Emeryville location in 1972. They renovated in 2010 and have experienced a strong resurgence after a slow decline. A recent dispute with neighboring residents over a cabaret license to feature live music coupled with the highest in the nation minimum wage ordinance has threaten to derail this revival though.
We wrote extensively about the history of “America’s first fusion restaurant concept” and its founder Victor Bergeron back in 2013. Vic’s granddaughter Eve is still involved in the day-to-day operations of the restaurant.
Other East Bay stops along the way in the episode include Oakland’s Juhu Beach Club located in the Temescal area and Miss Ollie’s in Old Oakland. Bourdain is chef, bestselling author and the recipient of multiple Emmy’s for his unique combination of adventure and culinary exploits. Parts Unknown airs Sundays on CNN at 9 p.m. ET/PT.