Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Delightful Beginning for Bitter Ends Luncheonette

The pocket-sized restaurant, helmed by chef Becca Hegarty, offers an array of farm-fresh food for breakfast and lunch.

photos by hal b. klein


Things are looking up, Bloomfield. Bitter Ends Luncheonette, a pocket-sized restaurant from Becca Hegarty, Jason Oddo and Lou DeVito now is open for breakfast and lunch service.

Hegarty helms the kitchen. Prior to Bitter Ends, she worked in the kitchens of The Cafe Carnegie, Dinette, Bread & Salt Bakery and Woodbury Kitchen. She quietly has developed a reputation over the past few years as a chef with a fastidious attention-to-detail toward quality of ingredients; this year, the secret got out —  Heagarty was named a 2017 semifinalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award and, in September, honored as one of Zagat’s national list of 30 Under 30 chefs.

Still, she wasn’t planning on returning to the kitchen when she and Oddo started farming on a plot in Verona they call Bitter Ends Garden, last spring.

“When we started the farm project, I didn't want to open a restaurant. I wanted to step away from that and just farm for awhile. Learn more about vegetables, and just do farmers markets and smaller things,” she says.

Plans changed when the Liberty Avenue space that previously was occupied by DJ’s Sandwich Shoppe became available. "When I moved to Pittsburgh, this was a place (then occupied by Mama Ros’ Sandwich Shop) that I was like, 'If I ever owned a business I'd want it to be in a place like this.' It turned out Lou felt the same way, too,” Hegarty says.

Hegarty says the diminutive space is the perfect fit for the group’s initiative. The nine-seat restaurant — food is available to-go, too — largely will use products grown at Bitter Ends, as well as feature food from a community of local purveyors such as be.wild.er Farm, Brenckle's Organic Farm and Greenhouse, Who Cooks For You? Farm and Mickley Farm eggs.

"Food should be about community. Nobody can do everything themselves. This space is a space for people like us who are smaller and doing something that inspires them. And we can present all of these projects here,” Hegarty says.

If talk of community and produce collectives sounds precious to you, let that thought fly. If anything, Bitter Ends Luncheonette is a throwback to old-school lunch counters that offer scratch-made food and for too long have been a missing component of most neighborhoods. It’s the sort of place you can pop in and out of for a coffee and doughnut on the run, or, if you want to, snag a corner seat, cozy up with a book and eat the best bowl of soup you’ve had in a few weeks. Or, if you’re feeling social, joke with friends and strangers about the possibility of bringing back once-popular catchphrases of quirky sitcom characters.

The restaurant’s menu will flow with the seasons. Look for late-autumn vegetables such as squash, beets and hearty greens to feature prominently on early menus. I’ve sampled both beet and egg sandwiches, and appreciate how Hegarty coaxes levels of flavor by adding nuanced touches such as crisp lettuce, bittersweet beet greens and tender herbs to the beet sandwich, and peppery, bitter greens to the egg.

As we move into the colder months, diners can expect soups (you’d do yourself well to enjoy a bowl of chicken soup on a brisk day like today), meat and robust sandwiches, but Hegarty also says she has a few vegetables surprises in store, such as a hardy, purple-blushed cabbage called January King that’ll allow for fresh produce even in the winter, plus an occasional special treat of peak-harvest food she preserved for the barren season.

Hegarty’s top-notch doughnuts, pies, scones and other pastries will be available year-round; today’s pumpkin pie tasted deeply of squash and autumn, with nary a trace of faux-holiday spice mix. Naturally leavened bread, baked daily, features prominently in most dishes and also can be purchased by the loaf.

4613 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield; 412/450-0229; tillthebitterends.com
Wed - Fri 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sat - Sun 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

All the foodie news that's fit to blog

Hal B. Klein is Pittsburgh Magazine’s associate editor and restaurant critic. He is an award-winning food and drinks writer. In his spare time, Hal can be found in his kitchen, in his garden and exploring the wonders of Pittsburgh. Follow him on Twitter (@HalBKlein) and Instagram (@halbklein).


Recent Posts


Atom Feed Subscribe to the Eat Street Feed »

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

On a Lark: Pittsburgh Mom Creates Activewear for Babes

Unable to find cute, environmentally friendly gear for her newborn son, Lark Adventurewear founder Pallavi Golla launched her own line of moisture-wicking clothing for kids.

Pittsburgh MultiStories: The Beacon's Perch – The Grant Building

When it opened in 1929 as the city’s tallest structure, crowds of sightseers paid a quarter to visit the rooftop observation deck of the Grant Building — named for the street, which was named for the hill, which was named for the somewhat hapless general.

Rick Sebak Digs Up Distant Carnegie-Trump Connection

Research into Andrew Carnegie’s marriage reveals an unlikely, albeit tenuous, connection between the Pittsburgh icon and the 45th President.

JuJu Smith-Schuster Teams Up with Drake, Travis Scott and Ninja to Play Fortnite

Drake and Ninja broke Twitch viewing records, and Smith-Schuster and Scott joined in later.

Growing Up: mossArchitects Moving to Garfield

Principal Andrew Moss says his architecture firm will move to the heart of the Penn Avenue Arts District after outgrowing its current space in Lawrenceville.

Teaching Cyber Safety - The Things You Might Not Know

iQ:smartparent’s Cyber Safety segment offers advice on topics such as what to do with “sexted” images you find on your kids’ phones and more.

Two Ceremonies? Why Two Pittsburgh Couples Celebrated Twice

To follow their church’s traditions, these couples honored their relationship with God as well as their own wedding wishes.

The Lights Are About to Go Out on the Rachel Carson Bridge

The wind-powered LED lighting display will end its 18-month run in April.

Living Legacy: “Van Gogh, Monet, Degas" at The Frick

Mais, oui! A major Mellon collection of éblouissant French art comes to The Frick Pittsburgh with pieces from the likes of Van Gogh, Monet and Degas.

Downtown to Add Art Installations, Music Nights and More

"Yinz Going Dahntahn?" Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership strives to transform the area into a more engaging and vibrant neighborhood.

Tomb Raider Promises Little and Delivers Less

Reviews of "Tomb Raider," "Love, Simon" and "7 Days in Entebbe."

A Repurposing Recipe for Leftover Vegetables Soup

PM Dining Critic Hal B. Klein shares a quick recipe for reducing food waste.

Jackie Page-Heidelberg is Catering to a Culinary Quest

The caterer's midlife career shift brings a new sense of purpose.

8 Places You'll Want to Discover Not Far From Pittsburgh

Point a compass north, south, east, west and everywhere in between. We chose eight destinations, each within a few hours' drive of Pittsburgh, with lots to explore at every step.

From PIT: 5 Easy Destinations for International Travelers

This year, the city’s vacation horizons are wider than ever, thanks to an array of easy new flights from Pittsburgh International Airport.