Good food and natural history will come together this month as Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) opens Neighborhood Grill by Post & Beam at the museum’s Exposition Park location.
The new restaurant is operated by chef John Cleveland and Roni Cleveland, co-owners of the award-winning Post & Beam restaurant in the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw district. On Wednesday, the museum held a ribbon-cutting ceremony where elected officials, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, NHMLAC leadership and the team behind the restaurant, gave brief remarks, cut the ceremonial ribbon and welcomed people into the reimagined restaurant space during a special event for invited guests. The event also featured live music from the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center Jazz Band and opportunities to sample menu items, including Neighborhood Grill’s signature hot pastrami sandwich, street tacos and flatbread pizzas. The family-friendly restaurant opens to the public on March 17.
Neighborhood Grill’s menu draws inspiration from L.A.’s quintessential casual dining favorites through the curated lens of Cleveland, featuring a dynamic selection of made-to-order and grab-and-go items for guests to enjoy as part of their museum experience. The restaurant is one element of a reorganization of the museum’s community-based food service program that is being managed by the newly formed South LA Cafe (SLAC) Hospitality, an extension of the museum’s long-standing community partner, South LA Cafe, founded by Joe and Celia Ward-Wallace.
A rising star in the culinary world, Cleveland and his wife Roni continue Post & Beam’s legacy as one of South L.A.’s most revered, award-winning, Black-owned restaurants. He draws his influences from southern soul food, Carolina barbecue and coastal seafood, as well as Neapolitan cuisine, culminating into what he’s coined “California comfort food.” During his tenure, Post & Beam has been listed as one of the Los Angeles Times’ “top 101 restaurants” every year. He was also a member of the first Black-owned restaurant culinary team to receive the Los Angeles Times Gold Award.
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) include the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall. Visit NHMLAC.ORG for more. For more information on the South LA Cafe ecosystem, visit southlacafe.com or follow @southlacafe on social media.