Establishing itself as a South L.A. cultural institution, Brad and Linda Johnson opened up the fine dining restaurant, Post & Beam in 2011 — its location adjacent to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Mall. Govind Armstrong served as head chef and partner, mentoring and eventually passing the culinary baton to John Cleveland. Last year, John & Roni Cleveland took over ownership of Post & Beam, keeping it a black-owned business.
This year the team behind Post & Bream received the Los Angeles Times Gold Award, named for the late Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold. “The Los Angeles Times Gold Award is given annually “with the idea of honoring culinary excellence and expanding the notion of what Southern California cooking might be. The award celebrates intelligence and innovation, brilliance and sensitivity to aesthetics, culture and the environment,” described Gold in 2017, prior to his death.”
“I consider myself a ‘working chef,’ and I love creating California comfort food. Comfort food is simple; yet it requires perfect execution, said John Cleveland. “The secret ingredients to good cooking are love and patience. You can taste it in every bite!”
“Post & Beam focuses on “California comfort food.” The restaurant offers a variety of hand-stretched pizzas and traditional southern comfort food, using local ingredients. Born in Oakland, California and raised in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Cleveland draws his influences from southern soul food, Carolina BBQ, coastal seafood as well as Neapolitan cuisine, culminating into what he’s coined as “California comfort food.””
“Favorite menu items include the hand-stretched pizzas with such toppings as pepperoni, turkey meatballs, shrimp and wild mushrooms; smoked BBQ baby back ribs and red cabbage slaw; fried jerked catfish; buttermilk fried chicken; shrimp ‘n’ grits; slow-cooked collard greens with smoked turkey and classic pound cake – just to name a few. In addition, dishes are seasoned with fresh herbs and seasonal fruits, grown from Post & Beam’s garden, such as basil, rosemary, sorrel, and lemon verbena along with panache figs, cara cara oranges and Meyer lemons.””
Post & Beam is again open for limited (space available) dining on their garden patio for dinner and for To-Go and delivery. Weekend Brunch service has just resumed.
Chef John and Roni Cleveland continue the conversation about becoming the 2nd proprietors of the well-established Post & Beam and the responsibility to the community that entails.