Jason Bernstein and James Starr, owners of the Golden State on Fairfax, are taking over the former Tar Pit location on La Brea Avenue to open a restaurant with Kevin Bludso, of Bludso's BBQ in Compton. Yes, the duo behind L.A.'s favorite upstart craft beer/beer float/burger joint is teaming with the man behind L.A.'s favorite Texas-meets-Compton barbecue. And on top of that, there will be cocktails.
What sounds like a dream come true for beer-and-barbecue fans was born of the friendship between Bernstein, Starr and Bludso and the idea that "it would be be amazing if we all collaborated on a place," Starr says. The idea was further spurred by a recent trip to Texas for Bludso's grandmother's 90th birthday. "We got real insight into where Kevin came from and what inspired him to open his place," Starr says. Bludso is a Compton native but worked for his grandmother during summers at her barbecue stand in Corsicana, Texas. "It turned out to be a research trip that reinvigorated us to make this a reality."
Bernstein says there's no name yet, "but 'Bludso's' will be in there." The trio, along with manager Noah Galuten, hope to open by the end of the year. The kitchen will be outfitted with a smoker, of course. And presumably the Tar Pit's Art Deco-inspired dining room will get a makeover.
"We're trying to focus all our attention on trying to create a beer list and a cocktail list that go well with barbecue," Bernstein says. "We're really trying to examine what that would be. The goal is to have everything really curated and not have a kitchen sink cocktail list of 30 things. Just a handful of really simple, well done cocktails."
The menu "in its soul will be the same menu as Bludso's," says Starr. That means Bludso's brisket, ribs, chicken and hot links. "And a few more items," Starr adds. Galuten says that there also will be pie. And hopefully the new Bludso's-on-La-Brea will play some of the same hits as the Bludso's-on-Long-Beach-Boulevard. Such as from Cameo and Natural Four.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: The mural inside Bludso's. Credit: Betty Hallock.