Neighborhood Grill by Post & Beam to Open March 17 at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) in Exposition Park

New restaurant will feature sustainably sourced, family-friendly fare from Chef John Cleveland of Baldwin Hills’ Post & Beam.

Casual eatery for Museum visitors is part of NHMLAC’s food & beverage program managed by South LA Cafe (SLAC) Hospitality.

 Chef John Cleveland of Post & Beam at the Natural History Museum horizontal
Chef John Cleveland of Post & Beam at the Natural History Museum

Los Angeles, CA (March 8, 2023)—The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) announced today that NHM’s reimagined restaurant will be named Neighborhood Grill by Post & Beam and will open to Museum visitors starting March 17, 2023 as part of its forward-looking food service reorganization with South LA Cafe (SLAC) Hospitality. Neighborhood Grill will be operated by celebrated Chef/Owner John Cleveland and Co-Owner Roni Cleveland of the award-winning Post & Beam restaurant located in South LA’s Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw District, known for its “California Soul'' approach to food, combining southern comfort with California innovation. Grand opening celebrations are planned for the weekend of March 17–19.

Neighborhood Grill’s menu draws inspiration from LA’s quintessential casual dining favorites through the curated lens of Post & Beam, featuring a dynamic selection of made-to-order and grab n’ go items for guests to enjoy as part of their Museum experience. Cleveland’s creative, customizable menu includes a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, street tacos, salads, nuggets, snacks and sweet treats, with an abundance of vegan and gluten-free options and farmers market overtones. There will be a signature ‘hot pastrami’ sandwich, vegan tacos (jerked wild mushroom, smoked cauliflower, and heart of palm), mainstay snacks including nachos and chips & queso, plus grab n’ go items from South LA vendors such as Dulan’s Soul Food, Hotville Chicken, Southern Girls Desserts and Aqua Equity. 

With indoor and outdoor seating, the new restaurant will be open during public museum hours from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and replaces NHM Grill, the Museum’s former restaurant operated by Trimana. Post & Beam’s casual concept restaurant is one of the major elements of NHMLAC’s partnership with the newly formed South LA Cafe (SLAC) Hospitality, which began managing the Museums’ food & beverage program on February 1, 2023. Co-founded by Los Angeles natives Joe and Celia Ward-Wallace, SLAC is a certified Minority Business Enterprise and women-led business ecosystem which also includes South LA Cafe, South LA Market and South LA Cafe Community Foundation 501c3. SLAC Hospitality will also oversee catering via an operating partner for NHMLAC special events, as well as the new café inside NHM Commons, the Museum’s new wing scheduled to open mid-2024.
“The opening of Neighborhood Grill by Post & Beam is an exciting first step in our transformational partnership with SLAC Hospitality – a values-aligned, socially-aware collaboration created in the spirit of connecting more with our local neighbors and driving our vision for the Natural History Museum to be a dynamic community hub,” said Lori Bettison-Varga, NHMLAC President and Director. “Post & Beam is a force in South LA and we are thrilled for our expanding family of visitors to enjoy Neighborhood Grill’s delicious and thoughtful new offerings as an important part of their overall museum experience.”

John and Roni Cleveland’s new venture follows their 2019 acquisition of the acclaimed Post & Beam restaurant in South LA, which is nearing 13 years in business and was the James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for Best Restaurant in 2022. Neighborhood Grill and the alliance with NHM and its mission present a range of new opportunities for the Clevelands. Like the Ward-Wallaces, the Clevelands’ have created family-owned and oriented businesses and fully embrace the opportunity to shine a light on LA families through this partnership. Sustainability is central to their philosophy, including local food sourcing, use of compostable packaging, serveware and utensils, and no single-use plastics. NHM’s collections and edible garden will provide inspiration to Chef John’s menus and create opportunities to expand Post & Beam’s acclaimed history-based “Black Pot Supper Club,” among others. 

“I’m excited to put together a family focused concept with the partners at the Museum, and to have a space that will allow our team to grow,” said Chef John Cleveland. “It was very encouraging to know that NHM makes an effort to support families and small businesses. I want to create a casual and versatile food experience that reflects our neighborhood and supports our community. I love that food is going to be part of the memories that people make when they visit here.” 

“SLAC Hospitality was started with a mission to disrupt the status quo of the corporate restaurant and hospitality world and create equal access and equity for local, minority, and women-owned businesses,” said SLAC Hospitality Co-CEO Celia Ward-Wallace. “Neighborhood Grill by Post & Beam helps fulfill our mission of finding new ways for small and locally-owned businesses to thrive together by introducing them to new audiences and utilizing our own strong network to promote inclusive social enterprise.”

Neighborhood Grill will officially open to the public on Friday, March 17. In celebration, there will be music and special activities throughout the weekend for museum visitors. 

About Chef John ClevelandA rising star in the culinary world, John Cleveland is head chef and co-owner of the fine-dining restaurant, Post & Beam. Chef John Cleveland and his wife Roni continue Post & Beam’s legacy as one of South LA’s most revered, award-winning, black-owned restaurants. Chef John is a self-taught, “working chef,” and both food and farming play an important role in his culinary DNA, with early exposure to the farm-to-table experience. Born in Oakland, California, raised in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and reared by parents from a small town in Ohio, Chef John 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.” During Chef John’s tenure, Post & Beam has been listed as 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

About the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County
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. They operate under the collective vision to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. The museums hold one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history—more than 35 million objects. Using these collections for groundbreaking scientific and historical research, the museums also incorporate them into on- and offsite nature and culture exploration in Los Angeles neighborhoods, and a slate of community science programs—creating indoor-outdoor visitor experiences that explore the past, present, and future. Visit for adventure, education, and entertainment opportunities.
About South LA Cafe HospitalitySLAC Hospitality is the restaurant and hospitality management company led by CEO & Co-Founders Joe & Celia Ward-Wallace who bring over 30 years of experience in business development, community organizing, social enterprise, and restaurant, and hospitality industries. In 2020, South LA Cafe was named the #1 Emerging Business in the United States by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. SLAC Hospitality’s mission is to disrupt the status quo of the corporate restaurant and hospitality contracting industry and create equal access and equity for local, minority, and women-owned businesses. SLAC Hospitality brings a network of culturally diverse and exceptionally talented food and beverage professionals together to create high-impact experiences and build a network of support. SLAC Hospitality has a specialization in community engagement through resonant branding, marketing, and social impact strategies and a deep commitment to hiring locally, paying a living wage, and creating pathways for income and professional advancement. For more information on the South LA Cafe ecosystem, visit