Harold and Belle’s General Manager, Ryan Legaux and wife, Jessica Legaux
Photo by Brian W. Carter
The restaurant continues to be the premier restaurant on the west coast in fine creole cuisine.
By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer
You ask where could one find fine dining in L.A. and Harold’s & Belle’s (H&B) is sure to be one of the top answers. H&B has been the cornerstone in authentic creole food within the community for the past 40 years. Passed down through the Legaux family, Ryan Legaux has been the general manager since 2002 with his wife, Jessica.
Born from the dream, Harold Legaux Sr. and his wife, Mary Belle Legaux move to Los Angeles from Louisiana in the 1940s. They settled into the Jefferson Park area, which at that time, was predominately a creole community, around WWII.
Legaux started the restaurant in 1969 as a place where people could gather, have a good time and eat some traditional New Orleans cuisine like PoBoys, red beans and gumbo served on Fridays. Legaux named the restaurant after himself and his wife, Mary Belle Legaux. Legaux created a more laid back, and social atmosphere at H&B, which undoubtedly kept H&B as a hotspot in town.
After 10 years, the legacy of the restaurant would be passed down to Harold Legaux Jr. and his wife, Denise, as they continued the tradition of providing one of the best and well known eateries in town. Under his son, Harold Jr., H&B took on a more sophisticated dining experience with white linen tables, candlelight and new items added to the menu like Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Scampi and Gumbo being available everyday.
In 1984, Harold Jr. took on partners, Al and Sue Honore and they expanded H&B greatly. They were able to add more tables, going from 12 dining tables to 35 dining tables, and added more room to the kitchen. “When it first started, it was only, maybe a 1/4 of the size of what it is now,” said Ryan. “The front area where the bar and lounge is now, that was the whole restaurant.”
Ryan continues the tradition of serving the community the food it loves with all the class and ambiance his father and grandfather established. “What Harold and Belle’s provides, as an experience, is something that is needed in the community,” said Ryan. “There’s not to many fine dining restaurants…sit-down restaurants, most of which you see, is fast food or very casual.”
Ryan attributes patience to being a successful manager of a longtime thriving restaurant. “It takes patience…to create the best experience for everyone,” said Ryan. “Our philosophy, or motto, we like to feel that we’re giving people value for their money. So when you come in, the courses are big, you are getting quality food.”
H&B is definitely in good hands with Ryan and Jessica Legaux as they continue the rich tradition of bringing a taste of the south to the community. Whether its Gumbo or Crawfish Etouffee, Catfish Sandwich or Seafood Platter, you owe it to yourself to come check out Harold & Belle’s Restaurant.
Harold & Belle’s Creole Restaurant is located at 2920 Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018. Visit them at www.haroldandbellerestaurant.com