Unlike "Hollywood" or "Beverly Hills" or "Melrose," Baldwin Hills is not a Los Angeles place name that people around the world instantly recognize. So celebrity chef Govind Armstrong's choice of a newly-renovated plaza there as the location for his latest restaurant, Post & Beam, drew attention from the culinary cognoscenti.
Post & Beam, named in honor of the mid-century design history of the neighborhood, aims to be a gathering spot for locals as well as great reason to visit the area. Armstrong, who was born in Inglewood and has lived in Costa Rica, cooked with Wolfgang Puck and at the famed Arzak restaurant in Spain, and traveled the world as the consulting chef on Air New Zealand, is enjoying a bit of a homecoming with this project. Armstrong's commitment to the community is strengthened by his ongoing relationship with the South Central Farmers Cooperative: though he grows vegetables and herbs in his on-site garden, he orders as much as possible from the organization.
We asked Armstrong about the neighborhood, the menu, and what's in season now.
Julie: What are your goals with Post & Beam?
Govind: Just to provide great food and service to the community and make people happy. We were approached to do the project by the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza developers to introduce the area to a more local and seasonal way of eating. We're looking forward to growing our diner base and our menu and being here for a long time.
Julie: Who is responsible for maintaining the on-site herb and vegetable garden? Will we find you out there snipping herbs?
Govind: Me and the kitchen team, so definitely!
Julie: How did you originally get involved with the South Central Farmers Cooperative?
Govind: I've been sourcing from them on and off for about six years, depending on our needs at my various restaurants.
Julie: What kind of ingredients do you get from them? How do their offerings influence your menu at Post & Beam?
Govind: Right now I'm getting a lot of the greens we're using, such as Peacock and Blue kales. Our whole menu is comprised of local, seasonal ingredients so we'll be relying on the co-op for most everything that we can't grow in our garden.
Julie: You opened Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills close to where you were born. How did you choose the location? What has been the best part of being in Baldwin Hills?
Govind: Ken Lombard of Capri Urban Investments, LLC, the developer behind the $30 million renovation of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, approached Brad Johnson to do the project. Brad and I have known each other for about seven years and always talked about collaborating. One time when I was having dinner with him at BLT Steak, where he was formerly a managing partner, he mentioned a project he was approached to do in Baldwin Hills. I told him it sounded like a project I would also be interested in exploring. We went to visit the site the following day. I knew we could do incredible things in the space and for the surrounding community, and bring them something new and different.
Julie: So far what dish has been the most popular?
Govind: Overall, the margherita pizza and the sausage and pepper pizza are crowd favorites. As far as our "Intros" go, sticky ribs and octopus, and then people are loving the pork chop or the short rib large plate and ending with the apple crisp.
Post & Beam
3767 Santa Rosalia Dr.; 323-299-5599
[Photos by Ginger Feast]