Forty-year Compton resident Alejandro Villegas went to school in the South LA city and still calls it home. But every time he wanted to have a nice meal with craft beer, he had to leave Compton. So in late June, Villegas finally opened Boulevard Gastropub on Compton Boulevard near Atlantic Avenue, a place designed for locals to socialize and eat.
“I wanted to bring something different, and Compton has been deprived for such a long time,” says Villegas. “I could’ve gone anywhere, but I chose Compton.” His business, located inside the former Las Palmas Restaurant, offers mostly local craft beer and wines, but also a solid food menu. The kitchen presses its burger patties, makes aioli, and assembles a hefty taco salad with ground beef, cheese, black beans, roasted corn, poblanos, and citrus dressing. And in a very LA touch, Villegas makes a sandwich called Senor Reuben, substituting traditional corned beef with pastrami, then adding chipotle aioli and smoked gouda on sourdough bread.
Boulevard has a strong emphasis on craft beer with Downtown’s Boomtown Brewery, Gardena’s Eureka Brewing Company, Hawthorne’s Common Space Brewery on tap, plus a new up-and-coming producer called Los Barbones Cerveceria. Boulevard Gastropub is the only eatery that carries Border X Brewing outside of the popular Gardena brewery. Boulevard Gastropub is also one of the few restaurants that carries Death Row Records IPA, a collaboration between Beer Thug and the notorious West Coast record label on its 30th anniversary, Death Row Records. Villegas has the goal of spotlighting smaller breweries and wineries that are trying to make a name for themselves, including wines from Paso Robles and Sonoma.
Villegas says he is hoping to secure outdoor seating by working with the county. Boulevard Gastropub is also family-friendly. “This is my home,” says Villegas. “I brought something that corporate America didn’t want to bring because they’re too afraid to lose. And I wasn’t, so I took the risk. People thought I was crazy. It’s really for the community. We’ve been deserving of this for a long time.”
Boulevard Gastropub is open Wednesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.