Adolf A. Dulan
“King of Soul Food”
Adolf Dulan, the self-proclaimed “King of Soul Food”, began learning to cook on a farm in Luther, Oklahoma while working next to his mother as she made the family’s meals. While watching his mother, he learned to prepare her beloved farm raised fried chicken, fresh collard greens, and many other tasty dishes. These informal lessons laid the foundation for what would one day become a soul food empire.
Before the empire could be established, Adolf would graduate from Langston University, join the Army, work for the U.S. Postal Service, and serve families in Los Angeles County as a social worker. Just as his mother’s lessons in the kitchen motivated him to cook, his love for his children and the realization that he would have three children in college at once, motivated him to enter the restaurant business. In 1975, he left his job with the County of Los Angeles, and invested his personal savings into opening an Orange Julius in South Los Angeles. This was the start of the empire.
Adolf deeply believes in the power of perseverance. He is doggedly determined to achieve his goals and is willing to explore a variety of avenues that will help him succeed. In 1977, Adolf transitioned the Orange Julius into a neighborhood family run restaurant by the name of Hamburger City ; An anytime neighborhood jewel, it soon became a popular local place for those seeking a bite to eat after a late night of fun at a nearby nightclub, and it gained a celebrity following. The business was flourishing, and in 1978, Adolf opened a second location. By 1982, there were five Hamburger City restaurants throughout Los Angeles with the fifth location opening in the affluent seaside community of Marina Del Rey.
Hamburger City in Marina Del Rey quickly grew out of its original location and was relocated to a larger space in the same shopping center. Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch was born out of that move. The year was 1985. The food was the best southern style, home cooking in the West. And, before long, Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch gained national recognition for its mouthwatering, delicious cuisine. Even the widely used Lawry’s Seasoned Salt wanted to be associated with Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch. Adolf went on to star in a national commercial for the brand, and his face became highly recognizable. As word spread about Aunt Kizzy’s cuisine and Adolf’s magnetic personality, the two became synonymous with excellent food and good times. Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch flourished and soon the delicious soul food was served on Air Force One as well as onboard jetliners of professional athletic teams. As for the restaurant, Aunt Kizzy’s clientele included everyone from Sunday-hat-wearing mothers-of-the-church to politicians, professional athletes, supermodels and celebrities. The atmosphere, thanks to the fun loving host with a welcoming smile, was akin to an Oklahoma family gathering. Everyone came, ate, and had a good time for over 15 years.
During a 1999 visit to New York City, Adolf, the ever-observant businessman, noticed the proliferation of cafeteria-style restaurants. He returned to Los Angeles with an idea and a mission. That idea became a reality when he opened Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen later that same year. Now with two locations, the Inglewood eateries are known for their generous portions, good service, and food that reminds one of being at grandma’s for Sunday dinner. And just like at grandma’s house, there is plenty of laughter and joy thanks to Adolf’s down-home hospitality.
Adolf, “The King of Soul Food”, has reigned over the Los Angeles food scene for nearly 40 years. Throughout those years he has been recognized by many organizations and received numerous commendations including: A Top Small Business Award from Assembly member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas in 2014, Community Based Business of the Year Award by Black Business News, The Patsy Brown Award and most recently, Small Businessman of the Year from the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Adolf has been lauded by the California State Assembly, former US Representative Diane Watson and former Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke.
Of all his accomplishments perhaps none are as special as the children who were the impetus for the family empire. “The King of Soul Food’s” reign will continue with the next generation of Dulans in the restaurant business. This includes the affiliate restaurant Dulan’s On Crenshaw. Adolf Dulan is indeed “The King of Soul Food” as well as the patriarch of the “First Family of Los Angeles Soul Food.”