She’s had a presence in the city’s cooking scene for several years, but now Pittsburgh finally has a consistent spot to get freshly-charred vegetables with crunchy bread from chef Becca Hegarty.
This morning at 7:00 a.m., Hegarty opened the doors to her new Bloomfield luncheonette. The space is now officially open on Liberty Avenue every Wednesday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Just like her Bloomfield Saturday Market popup of the same name, The Bitter Ends Garden Luncheonette serves breakfast and lunch dishes with a vegetable-forward menu. Many of the items on their menu were grown on the their own Bitter Ends Garden farm, a 1/2 acre plot in Verona, PA.
The Bitter Ends Garden Project had a stall at the Bloomfield Saturday Market from May until November of this year. With a new menu each week, the spot served different vegetable-based dishes, as well as baked goods and sandwiches. Their stall was a quick hit, with customers coming back every week to try Bitter Ends’ latest creations from the farm.
Their Bloomfield Saturday Market fans will be glad to know that the Bitter Ends team has stayed in the neighborhood. Their new luncheonette will serve a similar menu, highlighting seasonal produce. Guests can expect different vegetable and egg dishes, breads, doughnuts, and pies.
The luncheonette has nine seats for dining in, and also accomodates carryout orders.
According to Pittsburgh Magazine, the team behind the space includes Hegarty, as well as Jason Oddo and Lou DeVito.
Previously, Hegarty worked at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, Dinette, Bread & Salt Bakery, and most recently was chef de cuisine at The Cafe Carnegie in Oakland, where she was nominated for a James Beard Rising Star award.
Hegarty left her role at The Cafe Carnegie earlier this year. She began clearing the land for The Bitter Ends Garden in February.
While Hegarty has a large role in the Bitter Ends menu development, she commends Oddo for his huge role on the farm.
When we spoke to Hegarty this August about the Bitter Ends Garden Project, she was excited to be taking an active part in the the story of her produce.
“Your food has a life before it gets to you,” says Hegarty. “It’s a story you don’t have to think about anymore, but it can be so beautiful, or terrible. It’s a story that can be lost so easily.”
While most dishes from Bitter Ends Garden are are lightly seasoned, or drizzled with oil, they are undeniably vegetable forward, highlighting what a vegetable can truly do.
“I wanted to see my food from the absolute beginning, to the very end, and have a connection with it,” says Hegarty. “That was the part my food that I felt was missing. Its hard, but its been so beautiful. I get to decide what size, or at what point to pick the vegetables. I get to taste them every stage and size.”
With the garden project still in its first year, there are many different vegetables and legumes the team wants to continue experimenting with.
“Farming is like baking, but worse,” says Hegarty. “With baking you spend all these hours on the outcome, and then you have 24 hours or so before you to make adjustments. With farming its like, ‘Well, in a year, or in three months, I’ll do this.'”
With a fresh and seasonal menu that changes daily, it is best to follow The Bitter Ends Garden Project on Instagram for updated information on their dishes. And, if you see something that piques your interest, don’t dally. It may not be around for long.
From the first day of the Bloomfield Saturday Market, the goals of the project have stayed true.
“All I want to be doing is burning bread and vegetables over a fire,” says Hagerty.
More information on the Bitter Ends Garden Project can be found online.
Bitter Ends Garden Luncheonette (4613 Liberty Avenue)