This is what Leimert Park has been thirsting for - a modern, urban, hip, upscale, downhome, local flavor restaurant and bar.
Not just Baldwin Hills and View Park, but all of Los Angeles has flocked to the Post & Beam, which opened one year ago in a former chicken joint behind the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.
Recently Los Angeles Magazine hailed Govind Armstrong as one of the top chefs in the city for his modern twist on healthy home cookin' - made all the better with the garden he's growing on the premises of a regional shopping mall.
Have you made it out to the Post & Beam yet? It has become the community hub. I'm there all the time and I run into people from the neighborhood all the time. Council President Herb Wesson, one of Berry Gordy's executives, Heather Presha (the Leimert Park realtor), Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, council candidate to replace Jan Perry, David Roberts and Councilman Joe Buscaino's communications director Branimir Kvartuc.
And nearly every night owner Brad Johnson is there, saying hello to every table (even though more often than not the place his hoppin').
The restaurant continues to change and grow, responding to the customers. It now takes reservations, has a full bar, Sunday brunch and is teaching school kids about healthy cooking.
Ken Lombard of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza told me that our area can support this kind of development, but we need to find investors who are willing to take the chance. Councilman Parks emphasized that if the new amenities aren't nice enough, residents will continue to go to Culver City and LA Live for their entertainment.
I want to thank Brad and Govind for looking at the numbers and realizing they make economic sense, even if few others are taking this calculated risk. My wife and I love driving five minutes to Post & Beam for dinner and drinks and then walking over to the Rave Theaters in the Crenshaw Plaza to sit in a leather chair and watch the latest blockbuster.
That's why Post & Beam is a Leimert Park Beat Story of the Year 2012. Stay tuned for the more Stories of the Year and feel free to contribute your own.