Erika Nakamura and Amelia Posada: The Meat Is the Message
Kevin Scanlon Erika Nakamura and Amelia Posada
"I am six days away from becoming the mayor of this place," says Amelia Posada, "but I left my phone at home!" The co-owner of Lindy & Grundy Meats, the long-anticipated butcher shop on Fairfax, is seated next to her wife and business partner, Erika Nakamura, at Italian restaurant Terroni, across from the Grove. Posada is referring to her "mayor" status on Foursquare, the social network in which people "check in" to their location and compete for awards.
Her separation anxiety is understandable, considering that over the past eight months the pair have risen to the top of the foodie social network not for the keenness of their Kurobuta pork cuts but through the tenacity of their tweets, weaving their way into the social media tapestry.
While completing an eight-month butchery internship at Fleischer's Grass-fed and Organic Meats in Kingston, N.Y., the pair decided they wanted to open their own shop in Los Angeles, and immediately started tweeting about their plan.
Posada (@thefemmebutcher) and Nakamura (@TheButcherette) tweeted at every state line as they made their way from Brooklyn to Los Angeles; they update their followers from every restaurant booth they visit. Their Twitter page is a map of their shop's progress and the pair's restaurant rendezvous, including eating lunch with top tweeter Jo Stougaard (@MyLastBite) at Jitlada, exploring the underground chorizo scene in East L.A. with Bill Esparza (@streetgourmetla) and marinating LAist's Sam Kim (@samkimsamkim) in x's and o's.
By embedding themselves in the local eaterati, Naka-mura and Posada have become fluent in the language of the L.A. food scene despite arriving here only in August.
"If we had opened in New York, it wouldn't have been as big of a deal, because that market is already saturated with whole-animal butchers," Posada says. "Los Angeles doesn't have anything like it. The fact that we are female, young and opening a whole-animal butcher shop is why we've had so much hype before we opened."
California Department of Food and Agriculture inspections took longer than expected, delaying Lindy & Grundy's hoped-for November opening, but that didn't slow the buzz. "Opening this holiday season" hung temptingly as a Cheshire cat smile in the left margin of their Twitter profile until they finally opened in early April.
While some might fear Nakamura and Posada will be on their BlackBerrys at the butcher block now that the store is up and running, many of their online followers probably are more interested in their intimate accounts of their daily work than in the meat. "Guess who doesn't go home and cook for themselves," Nakamura says. "Food bloggers!"
Are they nervous about running the store? "The only thing we are afraid of is selling out," Posada says. "Of meat," she adds.
"Selling out is actually better than not selling out," Nakamura says. "If we sell out, it means nothing was wasted."
Lindy & Grundy's plans -- to make authentic chorizo, accept food stamps, offer discounts to bikers and neighbors who patronize local businesses and host vegan events in the shop -- will remain only intentions until the shop takes off. But the L.A. food scene loves a good narrative, and these women are the cleaver-wielding protagonists.
This story is from this week's People Issue. To read more, see our cover story.