Harold and Belle’s x Jack Daniel’s Celebrate 50 Years of Black L.A Business Legacy

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Los Angeles, CA–Harold and Belle’s is a popular Creole/New Orleans style restaurant nestled quietly within the Jefferson Park area of Los Angeles. For over five decades, Harold and Belle’s have provided southern comfort food and a cultural space of celebration for Black Los Angeles.

The Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey brand honored Harold and Belle’s to close out 2022’s Black History Month celebration at a private event hosted by The Gathering Spot. Derek Epps, who currently serves as Regional Multicultural Manager for the Brown-Forman Corporation was also host and helped curate the event, which was held on Harold and Belle’s newly renovated patio.

Guests were served portions of Harold and Belle’s popular dishes such as red beans and rice, fried cat fish as well as smoked sausages. A Jack Daniel’s bartender served signature cocktails and drinks, while guests prepared to listen to a fireside chat with the owners of Harold and Belle’s on their families legacy in Los Angeles.

“The second generation, Harold Jr., and Mrs. Denise took over in 1979 and they had a passion for fine dining and cooking. They advanced the menu and with their business partners in 1984, they increased to 35 dining tables and increased the size of the kitchen,” Epps shared during the event.

Ryan Legaux currently owns and operates Harold and Belle’s with his wife Jessica. When his father’s medical needs brought the family closer to care for the family patriarch, Ryan and his wife began to massage the thought of taking over Harold and Belle’s, after years of focusing on their own endeavors and life pursuits.

Before Ryan’s father took over Harold and Belle’s in 1979, he owned Hungry Harold on Slauson, which he would later sell to a Vietnamese family. Ryan’s father wanted to continue the family legacy of Harold and Belle’s and to honor the groundwork his grandparents laid.

The walk-up food spot Hungry Harold’s sits across from The Marathon Clothing Store next to Slauson Donuts, and has become a familiar L.A landmark thanks to Nipsey Hussle. He chose Hungry Harold’s as one of the locations for his GQ Magazine shoot with Lauren London–one of his last photoshoots before his untimely 2019 murder.

“Ryan’s dad opened Hungry Harold’s in 1969, the same time his dad opened Harold and Belle’s. When he passed away, none of the other children wanted to take over the restaurant, so my mother and father in-law sold Hungry Harold’s and purchased Harold and Belle’s,” said Harold and Belle’s owner Jessica Legaux.

Before Harold and Belle’s would become a beacon of fine dining and creole cuisine, it was a local joint where Black L.A had somewhere to destress, grab a drink and have a good time in the new place they called home, far away from the Southern towns they once knew.

Harold and Belle’s featured go-go dancers, pool tables, a bar, jukeboxes and very little food.

“Even then it was not in the best of neighborhoods and it was rough. One day, there was a fight and my grandfather went to break it up, and one of the gentlemen hit him over the head with a pool cue and that is how my grandfather ended up passing away,” Ryan Legaux shared during the fireside chat.

When Ryan’s mother and father took over, one of the first things they did was remove the pool tables and began the process of shifting Harold and Belle’s to what is now one of L.A’s most popular creole restaurants. For Ryan and his wife Jessica, they are committed to not only continuing the family legacy, but making sure the staff of Harold and Belle’s are able to support their families through the success and longevity of the restaurant.

Harold and Belle’s can tell you a thing or two about the magic it takes to make a business last decades, all in the spirit of Black family legacy.

Check out their tips for Black business owners in Los Angeles in our interview below.

In celebration of Black History Month, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey has developed a national campaign highlight extraordinary stories of FAMILY LEGACIES.  The 2022 campaign features content honoring Nathan “Nearest” Green’s Family Legacy, a legacy which made Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey into the iconic brand it is today. Nathan “Nearest” Green, a Black man, was the first head distiller of Jack Daniel’s and the man who taught a young Jack how to make whiskey.

Slauson Girl is a South Central native who has a love for journalism, history and all things Hip-Hop. She holds a B.A in Critical Race & Gender Theory & a Minor in Journalism. Follow Me on IG @Slausongirl

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