You may not be able to go to Michelin-level restaurants every month, but you probably know how to sit in a lawn chair.

That thinking led Sasha Schoen and her partner Brennan Villarreal to put their culinary industry experience together to form Got Your Back — a monthly community event with an admission price of $5 that brings food, drinks, music, art and, perhaps most importantly, community together.

It’s by every definition a passion project. Both Schoen and Villarreal already have full-time jobs in the industry. They currently work at Lasita, a popular Filipino restaurant and wine bar in Chinatown, and Schoen also does the wine curation at Rose Park Roasters.

Villarreal knows food, while Schoen knows drinks. It’s a perfect pair.

The two met while working together a few years ago at Rose Park Roasters, at the time a full-fledged restaurant which has since been dissolved, where Villarreal was a sous chef to executive chef Melissa Ortiz. Schoen took care of front of house and the wine and beer selection.

Under Ortiz, the restaurant put on a dinner series that had a different vibe and energy from the traditional restaurant service and brought people together in a more intimate way. When the restaurant dissolved, so did the events.

“What we were doing was so awesome,” Schoen said. “I just thought, ‘How do we keep doing this?'”

And so, Got Your Back was born.

The name comes from a staff ritual that originated at Lasa, Lasita’s predecessor and critically-acclaimed Filipino restaurant that closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Villarreal was a line cook there, and before service, chef de cuisine Nico de Leon would have restaurant staff line up and cross elbows with one another and say the phrase to each other.

When thinking about the events they wanted to start doing, Villarreal reached out to de Leon for permission to use the phrase — it captured the exact sentiment of what they were trying to do: create a space where people feel like someone has their back (and serve really good food and drinks).

And that guiding light is also why they price entrance to the event at just $5—and yes, it’s literally in a backyard in Rose Park. With that pricing, it’s not much of a business venture, but a product of years of industry experience now packaged for people in the form of a backyard hangout.

“I grew up in a farm in Minnesota,” Schoen said. “To me, hospitality is bringing people in and feeding them, but it’s reciprocated. We get so much back [by doing this].”

The event usually has three to four vendors local to the Long Beach and L.A. areas, with one vendor selling some sort of sweet treat. There is a natural wine list (curated by Schoen) and at least three to five nonalcoholic options.

“People who don’t drink or are sober aren’t an afterthought,” Schoen said. “We want to make sure they can have something that’s actually good and crafted.”

The vendors have small, limited menus so guests can create a meal through everyone’s food, not spend too much if they don’t want to, and each event is a completely different experience. Their event at the end of June, for example, specifically highlighted Asian American and Pacific Islander chefs and vendors. Chef Mat Espiritu, who competed on Food Network’s “Chopped” and worked at Rustic Canyon, a Michelin-recognized restaurant in Santa Monica, was one of the vendors.

“The prices are low and accessible, there’s no frill, and you can try his food without going to a Michelin restaurant,” Schoen said.

In addition to the food and drink, a vinyl DJ and arts and crafts activities are available, all of which tie into the event’s theme.

“It’s a hub for the experience of everything together,” Villarreal said.

It’s a relaxed space where people sit on the grass or in lawn chairs with no expectation of how to behave — and you don’t need to know anything about food, either. The menus and drinks have simple labelling, and if you want to know more, people like Schoen are more than happy to get into the nitty gritty.

“The community deserves to have a space where we can do this,” Schoen said. “It’s really cool to watch that community building flourish over food and drinks.”

Their next event, The Backyard, will be held on July 30 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in partnership with Rose Park Running Club. Anyone who joins their morning run on the 30th can have their $5 entrance fee waived. Vendors include Cold Hearted Gelato, Ola (celebrating cuisine from Patagonia to California), Baryo (Southeast Asian-influenced cuisine), and Oyster Bois.

For more information on Got Your Back’s upcoming events, follow their Instagram.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correctly identify who started the “got your back” ritual at Lasa.