Olmsted's Backyard Garden in Brooklyn Draws Stars Like Gwyneth Paltrow

“On any given night, Frank our neighbor to the line cook from Manhattan to Chef Akins from Chicago to Gwyneth Paltrow will be here," chef-owner Greg Baxtrom told Where Hollywood Eats.

Take one step into Olmsted in New York's Brooklyn and visitors will notice that it isn’t an average neighborhood restaurant and bar. With a flourishing garden in the back that grows produce like rhubarb, mint and lemon balm, guests get more of a backyard feel than a restaurant.  

“Everything here is here for a reason. It has meaning to us,” owner and chef Greg Baxtrom told The Hollywood Reporter.

Baxtrom brought a very personal touch to Olmsted when he opened its doors two years ago. “When we opened this restaurant, we didn’t really have a lot of money so my dad loaded up his van and drove all of his tools out here from Chicago. My dad built the chef counter, the bar, we redid the tables together, all the seating and benches in the back,” he said. “There are things that come from my childhood from the way my parents raised me that is in the DNA of the restaurant.”  

For Baxtrom, his journey to opening his first solo restaurant has been an extraordinary one. It all started when he was attending a culinary school and reached out to a new restaurant for help on a homework assignment. That restaurant happened to be the beautiful Alinea in Chicago.

It wasn’t long before that assignment turned into an internship at Alinea, which then lead to a full-time position. He later worked at New York’s Per Se and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where he developed his farm-to-table principals that inspire Olmsted. Guests from all walks of life are drawn to the atmosphere of Olmsted and just about anyone could walk through the door. “On any given night, Frank our neighbor to the line cook from Manhattan to ... Gwyneth Paltrow will be here.”

With a menu that “hits all these different notes,” according to Baxtrom, and using fresh garden produce, there’s something desirable for just about anyone on the menu.

“Olmsted is an ambitious neighborhood restaurant. We don’t want to alienate the neighborhood. I live in the neighborhood. We want them to feel welcomed,” he said. “I want someone from California that is in town to do their eating tour and I want the people that I’ve worked for, the people that I admire, I want them to respect the work that I’m doing.”