Harold & Belle's: World Class Dining ExperienceMembers of the Harold & Belle's family with VIP celebrities and elected officialsFor 40 years it has been a community treasure, providing a dining experience and quality cuisine like no other restaurant.
By Francis TaylorSentinel Contributing Writer
The pre-eminent Creole and award-winning restaurant in Los Angeles, Harold and Belle's, recently commemorated their 40th Anniversary with a weekend celebration featuring a Friday kick-off with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles City Councilmembers, and other notable community leaders and elected officials.
Proclamations were presented to the family and to the restaurant in honor of their 40 years of service to all of Southern California.
On Saturday, an all-you-can-eat feast of Gumbo, Jambalaya, Fried Catfish, Red Beans and Rice, Louisiana Bread Pudding and non-alcoholic beverages were served to more than 500 patrons who came out to join the celebration.
Al Honore, owner and vice president said, "The proclamations offered by the Mayor, the County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council were presented on behalf of three generations: Harold's mother, Belle Legaux, Harold and Denise Legaux, Al and Sue Honore, and Ryan and Jessica Legaux."
Serving as host for the VIP luncheon and press briefing on Friday, award winning author, commentator, and television personality Tavis Smiley, who admitted that he was a regular patron of Harold and Belle's and had been for some time said, "It is significant that Harold and Belle's is still standing after 40 years, noting all of the challenges small business owners experience. a Black-owned business is a beautiful thing to celebrate."
Smiley introduced Villaraigosa who declared Harold and Belle's a South Los Angeles Landmark. "Business people and politicians come here to get a bite to eat from time to time," he said. "Harold and Belle's serves the best Gumbo in town!"
Villaraigosa said that he was here to celebrate the family and the restaurant and presented a proclamation for their 40 years of providing love, friendship and great food to the community.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Member Mark Ridley-Thomas was also present to celebrate with the family and to offer a commendation on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.
"Harold and Belle's has been a frequent staple for the Ridley-Thomas household for some time." He said. "Harold and Belle's is an example of what it means to have creative entrepreneurial spirit that lasts 40 years and is an established icon in the City of Los Angeles."
Smiley took a moment to acknowledge several of the community leaders who were present to share in the kick-off celebration. He mentioned Los Angeles Sentinel Executive Publisher Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Danny J. Bakewell, Jr., Pam Bakewell, Brenda Marsh-Mitchell, and others.
"It is clear that Harold and Belle's has been around for one reason and one reason only," Bakewell, Sr. said. "It serves good food and it accommodates the community and the community's needs. People come not only from throughout the city but from across the nation and around the world to visit Harold & Belle's. It has that kind of reputation," Bakewell concluded.
Los Angeles City Council Member Herb Wesson, another Harold and Belle's Restaurant regular, said, "We honored the Honore family in the City Hall Chambers for reaching their 40-year milestone. I regret that I was not able to leave City Hall in time to arrive at their Friday Kick-Off Celebration."
"The two most difficult businesses to sustain are restaurants and night clubs," Wesson noted. "To envision that they would last for 40 years is mind-blowing and an extraordinary accomplishment."
"I have been going to Harold and Belle's since the mid-1980's," Wesson noted. "I can say that they consistently deliver quality food that tastes great and is always delivered with exceptional service."
State Assembly-member Mike Davis added his congratulations to the chorus of accolades that filled the kick-off celebration. "I thought it was a wonderful story that should be told, not only to small businesses but also to our community, to have a successful business that has sustained the challenges of business is a rewarding experience for all of us. I am pleased to participate in their celebration and I wish them 40 more years of outstanding service to our community. You could see me at Harold and Belle's any Friday or Saturday," Davis concluded.
Recently appointed Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck took some time from his busy weekend schedule to attend the Saturday celebration where over 500 neighborhood guests, visitors, and friends were on hand to partake in an all-you-can-eat sampling of some of Harold and Belle's most popular entrees.
Members of the Los Angeles Police and Fire Department also participated in the weekend celebration while Chief Beck was accompanied by senior members of the police department.
Los Angeles Sentinel Executive Publisher Bakewell, Sr., succinctly captured the essence of the reason for Harold and Belle's success. "Harold Legaux took, what began as a simple restaurant, and brought it whole new, world-class level to consistently deliver a real upper-class dining experience in our community."
Harold and Belle's will be closed on Thanksgiving Day today, as they are on several major holidays throughout the year including Christmas, New Year's, Memorial, Independence, and Labor Day.
The remaining 359 days of each year, one may find the best Creole-style food in Los Angeles, presented by a dedicated family and an award-winning staff that have distinguished themselves with the finest dining experiences imaginable.