Dulan’s Soul Food kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine. From sunrise to sunset, there is an ongoing preparation assembly line generated for the daily demand for the award-winning comfort food this legendary, Black-owned family restaurant has built its reputation on for decades. Owner and founder, Gregory Dulan, explained that the orders must go out on time; his staff and he are constantly racing against the clock. Listening to the buzz of the kitchen, the Dulan’s team is chopping and peeling natural and fresh ingredients for costumer favorites, such as cornbread, peach cobbler, baked mac and cheese, and other feel-like-home delicacies.
Cooking is done in colossal amounts; massive pots of collard greens boiling, and the alluring aroma from the enormous pots of yams simmering. Mouthwatering delights, such as short ribs, ox tails, and meatloaf parade out of the kitchen and onto plates, in large portion, sizes, fulfilling a greater need during a global pandemic. After 40 years in the business, Dulan’s portion size is recognized as one of the unanimous accolades in the costumers’ reviews.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Dulan’s team has answered the call in aiding an underserved and financially hurting community with no hesitation. As participants in the Great Plates Delivered community food assistance program, the restaurant is giving back by feeding those who cannot shop or afford to buy food themselves, including those most susceptible to the severe effects of COVID-19 and the elderly. The mission behind Great Plates is to fulfill a need that’s deeper than hunger. Dulan’s Soul Food and Great Plates look to show the community that they care.
Exciting news broke out the day of Greg’s interview, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce awarded Dulan’s Soul Food with the Minority-Owned Business Achievement Award, on October 15. The restaurant is now representing all of Los Angeles, as one of the best businesses on a national level. Dulan was humbled by the accolade, stating, “It brought me to tears.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with Chase Bank to acknowledge “the very best in American small business.”
Reflecting on the original pillar of success, Greg stated, “My father started it off,” explaining how the legacy of the Dulan’s style of soul food began. He went on to share that his parents were the pioneers into the comfort food business, when Adolf and Mary Dulan created “Hamburger City,” he said. This was the seed of hospitality that was planted into the Dulan name. The family gradually moved into a variety of cooking pallets, embarking on a down-home, Southern-style cuisine, where more passion was needed. Adolf and Mary then built “Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch,” a soul food kitchen restaurant in Marina Del Rey, CA.
As a teenager, Greg began working at Aunt Kizzy’s, his first taste of the business. He left the family restaurant to pursue his college degree at Howard University, an HBCU in Washington D.C. Although he focused on his academic journey, the young Dulan knew he wanted to continue to expand the family’s legacy. Returning home from college, he picked up where he left off, working at Aunt Kizzy’s.
Time passed and Greg gathered enough wisdom from the family kitchen that he and the family felt confident with him opening “Dulan’s on Crenshaw,” a full-service soul food restaurant and banquet facility. “I always wanted to work in the family business. That was my dream, that was my goal,” Greg said. The foundation was already laid by the entrepreneurial spirit of his parents.
Looking back at where he started, where Greg learned numerous lessons along the way. One tradition that followed him into his own empire was his father’s formula in making the best fried chicken. Adolf Dulan made sure that the family understood that the right way to cook is with love and in large portions before he passed in May of 2017. “That would definitely be a recipe that was passed down.” Greg reminisced on the intricate process that his father showed him. He valued the tradition so much, he made his dad’s fried chicken recipe, the signature dish at his own restaurant.
The Dulan empire continues to grow, running three locations on Crenshaw Blvd., Manchester Blvd. and La Brea Blvd. Their flagship soul food location is found at, 4859 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90043. This location has outdoor seating, but these delectable delights can also be ordered online, through the Dulan’s official website, Postmates, and Doordash for the flagship location on Crenshaw. There is word of a food truck being developed for reaching out to the community, Mobily.
In a continuing evert to give back, Dulan’s sponsor a number of other charitable events and causes, including the Adolf A. Dulan Entrepreneurial Scholarship fund, sending local students to prestigious Howard University for undergraduate studies.
Greg closed with these remarks, “There are a lot of good soul food [restaurants] in Los Angeles … the thing that sets us apart, is that we give very large portion sizes on every plate. And one of the things we are known for, you always get value for your money.” The foundation of the Dulan’s soul food empire was established through the pioneering spirit of his parents. Greg took that dream and brought it to a national level of recognition. The pots are deeply filled with love in the Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen, and so too are the hearts of those preparing the food and contributing to the well-being of the community.