By Haley Frederick
Pittsburgh Current Managing Editor
When Kayleigh Dumas and I decide that we’re doing breakfast in Bloomfield, the obvious choice is Bitter Ends Garden and Luncheonette at 4613 Liberty Ave. I’ve been looking at their doughnut-of-the-day posts on Instagram for weeks at this point.
You order at the counter. Dumas and I both go for coffee, garlic toast and the Breakfast Salad. It’s braised lentils, griddled potatoes and turnips, lettuce, onions, with optional sausage (which we opt for), all topped with an egg sunny-side up. I also order the doughnut of the day, because duh. The doughnut is a more bready, old-fashioned consistency and the flavor is rhubarb thyme crunch. It’s weird in a good way.
The place has a kind of genuine quirk and whimsy. The more you look around, the more little details you spot—googly eyes on the creamer and the water, a tiny T-rex in a succulent by the register. You pick your own coffee mug from shelves anchored onto the front of the counter. Dumas goes for the biggest one she can spot. I pick one with a drawing of a little girl in a meadow, which I realize says “Mom, You’re A Wish Come True” on the other side after we sit down at the table.
We’re lucky to get one. Bitter Ends Garden is small but mighty. Inside, there is seating for about 20. On nice days, like today, there are tables outside to expand the real estate. But Bitter Ends isn’t the kind of place that gives you three times the amount of food you actually need and then you sit there for an hour trying to shove as much of it into your mouth-hole as possible before you explode. The portions are smaller, because Bitter Ends is all about the quality of the ingredients, which they grow on their farm (herbs, greens, etc.) and make themselves (bread, sausage, etc.) whenever possible.
Dumas’ review of the food is as follows:
“What are these? Lentils? They’re delightful. Everything here is so fresh.”
I must say, I agree. I could eat this garlic toast for days.
Dumas describes herself as “new-ish” to comedy. She started doing stand up a year and a half ago, and took the stand up class at Arcade Comedy Theater. Then she went to open mics.
“You go through that process of [the stand ups] not knowing if you’re going to stay, so no one talks to you for a couple of months,” she laughs. “And now all of my friends are in stand up and they’re great humans.”
Like the proverbial smart kid that goes to an Ivy League school, when you start out in comedy, Dumas says you realize pretty quickly that a lot of people are “the funny one” in their friend group.
“Everyone goes through that in the first six months,” Dumas says. “You’re like, ‘Am I even funny? Why am I here?’”
She recently started an open mic at The Yard in Shadyside on Thursday nights at 7:30. It’s in a trial phase to see how it’ll work out.
“It’s definitely been a learning experience,” Dumas says. “Hosting is a whole different skillset and I give anyone who does that every week so much credit.”
Gathering both comics and an audience has its challenges, but she’s hoping that it builds up as the word gets out that there’s a new mic in Shadyside.
I ask her if she has any tips for people that come to her open mic or any others. Number one is be respectful—of the host, of the other comics, of the venue. Number two is obey the light (i.e. respect the clock). And number three is to sit and watch. It’s the best way to learn.