Greg Dulan always knew he would one day own restaurants. From the time he was young, his father, Adolf Dulan, continually instilled in him and his siblings the importance of having a family business. Leading by example, Adolf built a restaurant brand that would go on to become a family legacy.

In 1975, he opened his first eatery in Los Angeles, Hamburger City, which soon became so popular that additional locations were sprung up around the city. A few years later, he opened Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch in Marina del Rey; the first soul food restaurant in the area, it was a huge hit. 

It became the place to be, and Adolf Dulan was crowned “the King of Soul Food.” The restaurant’s delicious scratch-made Southern fare made it a hotspot loved by locals as well as celebrities like Janet Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Magic Johnson and many more.    

Greg witnessed his father build and run these successful restaurants, learning a wealth of knowledge from his dad’s teachings as well as through hands-on experience. It wasn’t always easy, but it equipped him with the know-how he needed.

“It was not pleasant watching my dad work growing up because he made me work, too,” Greg shares. “He started me working in the restaurant in my early teens. He would get me up at 5 a.m. to go downtown to the produce market to buy tomatoes and onions for the hamburger stand. I hated getting up early. Now I do it every day without a second thought.”

As he got older, Greg began to admire watching his dad run the restaurant. He started to develop a deeper appreciation of the business. Adolf frequently spoke to Greg and his siblings about the importance of entrepreneurship and building their own wealth through the family business.  

“He said the majority of people don't have the guts to step out on faith and open a business. He always used the Jews as an example and often spoke of his admiration of how they own and operate businesses in their communities. He felt that business ownership was one of the best ways to create wealth in America,” explains Greg.

When it was time for him to leave home to attend Howard University, the younger Dulan knew that he wanted to major in business management so that he could come home and work in his family’s restaurants. He had come to enjoy doing so, and thanks to his father’s teachings, he understood the importance of maintaining the family legacy.

Greg learned many other valuable business lessons from his father that he could not have learned in a classroom; things like the importance of giving generously and establishing a personal connection with customers. Adolf made sure the restaurant put money back into the community and provided jobs to locals. He also fostered a family-like atmosphere that allowed people to feel welcomed and at-home.

“He always said if you connect with the community, they will do your advertising for you. I would watch him greet customers, shake their hands. He knew people by name,” Greg says. “I learned the strategy of pricing for volume sales and giving the customers a little extra. This would keep them coming back, and they would tell all their friends about how much food they got. His favorite saying was, ‘We give our customers a rebate by putting extra food on their plate.’”

In 2017, Adolf Dulan passed away. His death not only had a devastating effect on his family, but on the entire community, as well. He was loved by those throughout Los Angeles and beyond, remembered for his charisma, generosity and incredible soul food. Nearly 800 people attended his funeral and repast.

“For our family, we lost our patriarch. He was the head of our family, and he led us from a place of family togetherness, love and support. He loved us, and we knew it. He lifted us up every chance he got. He always had a $100 bill to slip into our pocket,” recalls Greg. “He was beloved beyond measure. People still come up to me now and tell me how much they miss my father and what he meant to them. He touched so many people positively.”

After his father’s passing, Greg and his family worried about the future of their business. However, Adolf had set them up to continue operating successfully. When he knew he was declining in health, he had his son Terry Dulan return home from New York to help run the business. 

“That was the best thing he did for our family legacy because my younger brother is doing an incredible job assisting in running the business. Today my family and I operate the Dulan Restaurant Group, which includes Dulan's on Crenshaw Soul Food Restaurant, Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen, Dulanville Food Truck and Mobile Kitchens, Dulan's Catering Division and Hotville Chicken.”

The legacy left by Adolf Dulan continues to live on through his family, his restaurants and the Dulans’ enduring commitment to outstanding food, community and family.