Adolf Dulan, the self-proclaimed “King of Soul Food,” who began learning to cook on a farm in Luther, Okla., while working next to his mother as she made the family’s meals has died.
He was 83 years old.
While watching his mother, Adolph learned to prepare her farm-raised fried chicken, fresh collard greens, and other tasty dishes. These informal lessons laid the foundation for what would one day become a soul food empire in Los Angeles.
Before the empire could be established, Dulan graduated from Langston University, joined the Army, worked for the U.S. Postal Service, and served 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, Adolph left his job with the County of Los Angeles, and invested his personal savings into opening an Orange Julius in South Los Angeles down the street from the Crenshaw Plaza. That popular neighbored eatery segued into Hamburger City in 1977.
It soon became a popular local place for those seeking a bite to eat after a late night of fun and gained a celebrity following. By 1982, there were five Hamburger City restaurants throughout Los Angeles with the fifth location opening in the affluent 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. This time, the location was called Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in 1985. During a 1999 visit to New York City, Adolf 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 year. That one location grew into two locations and the two Inglewood stores became known for their generous portions, good service, and food that reminded you being at grandma’s for Sunday dinner.
Adolph is survived by five children Gregory, Terry, Jeff, Tiffany and Danielle and their respective children and an ex-wife Mary. His first wife Vivian died two years ago.