Currently under renovation, the soul food restaurant is almost done becoming the community’s gathering place.
When the public steps into Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen again, they’re going to have the restaurant they’ve been asking for according to Greg Dulan. The restaurateur and James Beard Award finalist stands ready to present a new soul food restaurant experience to Los Angeles.
“I just wanted to create something nicer for the community because I know what the community needs. I know what they want,” said Dulan. “So, you know, that’s what this represents.”
The landmark soul food restaurant has been under heavy renovation with new improvements currently underway. Dulan shared that these plans had been in place before the pandemic when he was approached about receiving a façade improvement grant from the 8th Council District.
“I didn’t get the grant, but that was the impetus because I said, ‘Well, I need to, if I’m going redo the facade, then I need to redo the interior.’ I don’t want to just do the outside and the inside is still old kitchen, old bathroom,” said Dulan.
He continued, “And then the train development coming down Crenshaw really escalated my desire to upgrade because I knew that there was going to be new housing, which meant they were going to probably be new restaurants.
“And I wanted to be a whole part of that whole process.”
As Destination Crenshaw moves through the Crenshaw District, ensuring culture stays within South L.A. by investing in the community with initiatives intended for current residents, Dulan is proud that his family’s legacy is a part of that. He shared that it hasn’t been easy with multiple obstacles popping up along the way but completely worth it.
“The process has been very difficult,” said Dulan. “I’m not ashamed to say that I made a ton of mistakes but here I stand.
“I had to go through the coronavirus for three years — that wasn’t helpful at all. You know, to be going through a restaurant renovation when the whole country shut down and to survive that, I think it’s a miracle in itself.
“So, it has been a very rough, difficult road but I’m determined. I’ve been determined to get it done. I know this is something that’s going benefit my neighborhood, my community and my customer base.
“This is what they’ve been asking for – a nice, sit-down restaurant with real plates and real glasses and places where they can hold significant events where they can bring their out-of-town guests and all those types of things and so, this is what I created.”
What he has created is more space for dining inside along with a new patio for outside dining as well. The restaurant will also have a special space for events and special occasions for customers.
Dulan is very proud of his new kitchen, which customers will be able to see in action inside and outside the restaurant. The best part is the warm legacy customers will be able to see on the walls, which will be a time capsule of pictures and history.
“The Dulan family history and legacy from the farm, in Luther, Oklahoma, to Hamburger City in Los Angeles, Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch, Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen, and Dulan’s on Crenshaw,” said Dulan about what he wanted to display inside the restaurant.
“We’re just trying to capture the Dulan’s family legacy through historical photographs from our family’s history and sort of tying it all together and representing just a positive African American family, culture, and history so that when all the guests come, they can kind of share in that with us.”