Jake Gyllenhaal winning over the 'Burgh

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Chatham University junior Kayla Hilko was waiting to put her name in for a table at Pamela's Shadyside restaurant recently, when a good-looking man standing ahead of her caught her eye.

"I looked at him and thought, 'Whoa, that guy's kind of cute,' " she said, laughing. "Then he turned to the side, and I said to my friend, 'That's Jake Gyllenhaal!' and she just laughed at me."

Mr. Gyllenhaal, whose accomplishments range from earning an Academy Award nomination for "Brokeback Mountain" as a lovelorn cowhand to singing a wicked parody of a "Dreamgirls" showstopper while hosting "Saturday Night Live," is in town to film the drama "Love and Other Drugs."

He's been out and about, so much so that it seems as if everyone -- or their friend -- has spotted the Hollywood star.

From a Peruvian restaurant in Shadyside to a Downtown bar, with Whole Foods in between, Mr. Gyllenhaal isn't shy about sampling life in the 'Burgh. Filming continues in the coming weeks, with one of Mr. Gyllenhaal's "Brokeback" co-stars, Anne Hathaway, due to arrive early next month.

After Miss Hilko and her friend, Rachel Moynihan, finished their late breakfast, she couldn't resist asking the hunky actor to pose for a photo: "I grabbed his arm but not like a stalker ... he was, like, 'Sure.' "

Which is how the photo of a smiling Miss Hilko, a smiling Mr. Gyllenhaal and a smiling Josh Gad -- another actor in the film -- ended up as the photo of the day on Chatham University's intranet Web site.

A bunch of ladies at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill had been talking about recent "Jake Gyllenhaal sightings" around the East End, so Amy Siebert wasn't surprised when she realized the actor walked into her Point Breeze coffee shop.

But he left without ordering.

"We were really bummed," said Ms. Siebert, who owns Make Your Mark on Reynolds Avenue with her husband, Hemi Braunstein.

Mr. Gyllenhaal is famous, but in this case, not famous enough.

Seems Mr. Braunstein was the barista when Mr. Gyllenhaal and two young women entered the cozy restaurant. "He was dressed like a normal guy: T-shirt, jeans, boots," Ms. Siebert said, noting the actor made no attempt at the dark-glasses-and-hat disguise routine.

It was 11:15 a.m., 15 minutes shy of the transition from breakfast to lunch.

"It was right before lunch, and we weren't ready yet," said Ms. Siebert, who was shuttling boxes of supplies between her car and the kitchen at the time. "My husband doesn't know a superstar from the next guy. If someone else had been behind the counter, we would have opened up the kitchen.

"We hope he comes back. I've heard he is a vegetarian and eats kind of healthy, and that's what we're all about."

Jennifer Rapko, manager of the restaurant La Feria in Shadyside, was on duty Sept. 16 when Mr. Gyllenhaal and "four or five others" arrived for dinner.

"Everyone was actually kind of nonchalant," Mrs. Rapko said. "They recognized who he was, but they let him eat."

La Feria is above Pamela's Shadyside location and shares the same owners. They also see their fair share of celebrity diners, "although I don't want to say it's an everyday occurrence ... depends on the movie," Mrs. Rapko said.

"When they were doing 'Wonder Boys,' Robert Downey Jr. was upstairs and downstairs quite often."


Maria Sciullo can be reached at msciullo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1478.


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