Los Angeles Restaurant Post & Beam Receives This Year’s L.A. Times Gold Award

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Video Courtesy of Los Angeles Times Food and YouTube

Post & Beam opened New Years Eve 2011, along the western edge of the Crenshaw-Baldwin Hills Plaza on Santa Rosalia Drive in a predominately African American Community in Los Angeles. Low slung, airy with flowing indoor-outdoor space stirred by a hint of ocean breeze, the restaurant is an oasis; its clean lines echoing the architecture of the surrounding dwellings. It is a restaurant by and for the community, a black-owned, -operated and -envisioned business in a neighborhood that needed and deserved it.

Post & Beam is a meeting spot: Sunday brunch, an after-work watering hole, a “lets meet in the middle” supper spot. Before the pandemic hit, patrons could gather on the outdoor patio, and a jazz duo (standing bass, alto sax) held court before Cara Cara orange trees and an herb garden on the weekends.

Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold twice ranked Post & Beam on his 101 best restaurants list, calling it “perhaps the most ambitious restaurant ever to open in the Crenshaw district.” This was no small feat, and it would take a team who understood the disequilibrium of neighborhoods in transition as well as the fickle nature of the restaurant business itself.

The restaurant was originally operated by restaurateur Brad Johnson and chef Govind Armstrong.

If you’ve been around Los Angeles long enough and in the swirl of the restaurant and club scene, you’ll know Brad Johnson from a string of successful, high-profile nightspots: Roxbury and Georgia in the ’90s; the Sunset Room and Menemsha, a New England-inspired restaurant and seafood bar in Venice, in the early aughts. From 2003 to 2007 he managed Windows in downtown, and in 2008 took over the old Le Dome space in Hollywood and opened BLT Steak.

Chef Govind Armstrong has been a firsthand participant in L.A.’s culinary history for over two decades. He began his career training and working with Wolfgang Puck in the trend-setting kitchen of the original Spago. He also worked for LA. culinary luminaries Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton at Campanile; Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger at their seminal City restaurant; and Joachim Splichal at Patina and Pinot. Armstrong then went on to hone his craft internationally in highly regarded European kitchens, including Arzak, the Michelin three-star restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain.

One night in late July, 2019 Brad Johnson handed the ownership to chef John Cleveland who started working at Post and Beam two years ago. Govind serves as Cleveland’s mentor and the restaurant’s current consultant.

The founding and current driving forces behind Post & Beam — Brad and Linda Johnson, Govind Armstrong and John and Roni Cleveland — are this year’s recipients of the Los Angeles Times Gold Award!!!!

When the pandemic landed, the restaurant industry appeared to be in freefall; it was impossible to ignore how steep the odds were against the restaurant.  The lights are still on at Post and Beam thanks to District 8 Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson who contracted John Cleveland to deliver meals three times a week to seniors and local customers who have been ordering takeout. A recent study revealed 40% of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. have shuttered since the pandemic began.

If you’re in LA, Post & Beam, chef John and the staff would appreciate your support, so make a point to order food to go.

Post & Beam: 3767 Santa Rosalia Drive, Los Angeles, (323) 299-5599postandbeamla.com.

Picture: Restaurateur Brad Johnson, center, chef-owner John Cleveland, right, and chef-consultant Govind Armstrong, left, gather with the staff at Post & Beam restaurant in Baldwin Hills.(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

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