Adolf Dulan, the founder of legendary Los Angeles restaurants Hamburger City, Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch and Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen, passed away on May 1. He was 83.
Dulan was born in Oklahoma and moved to Los Angeles to be a social worker. In 1975 he purchased an Orange Julius franchise, and two years later turned it into his own restaurant, Hamburger City, which at one point had five locations around town. It was a savvy move — L.A. loves burgers more than anything.
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In the early 1980s, Dulan turned the biggest Hamburger City location, in Marina del Rey, into Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch, a soul food restaurant that soon had both a local and celebrity clientele. The menu included a lot of baked meats, plus smothered pork chops, meatloaf and fried chicken, all served with cornbread. On weekends, brunch included chicken and waffles. The man knew what the city wanted.
Dulan became a bit of a celebrity in these years, appearing in national commercials for Lawry's Seasoned Salt.
He referred to himself as "The King of Soul Food," and it's fair to say that there wasn't anyone else in Los Angeles bringing as much attention to the Southern cuisine. Aunt Kizzy's eventually closed, but Dulan's legacy lives on in two eponymous restaurants now run by his family: Dulan's on Crenshaw and Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen.
Keep Dulan in mind next time you eat a gourmet burger or fancy mac and cheese or the city's current food craze, fried chicken. His menus got us to this delicious place.