A Tale of Les Sisters:
Founders of Les Sisters
(Left to Right) Rhoda Hadi, Willie Stanford, and Clara Huling
When Clara Huling, Roda Hadi, and Willie Stanford opened a small café in Chatsworth in 1986, none of them could possibly have predicted the bright future of their venture. For them, it was an adventure; an attempt to realize lifelong dreams. Each brought to the table a special talent. At the time, Roda was a master Cajun chef, and ran the seafood bar at the popular Fireside Inn in Encino. Willie was the owner-operator of Our Place, a very popular bar and gathering place in Northridge. Clara’s mother owned a restaurant in Yuma where Clara learned the trade as a young girl. They got together and decided to try it, but each agreed to keep their “day jobs.”
The first year was a trying experience, but after a few rave reviews from the likes of Elmer Dills, the LA Times, and Valley News, they survived. Meanwhile, due to personal setbacks and illness, Roda and Willie had to leave the fledgling business, and Clara had to go it alone. She briefly turned the restaurant management over to another team, but in the end, she had to reassume the helm. That’s when fate stepped in and administered a devastating blow. Clara succumbed suddenly to a stroke in June 1992, and Les Sisters’ was devastated. That’s when Kevin, Clara’s son, stepped up and took charge of the restaurant. With the support of a loyal staff (especially Susan Warner, our head server), and loving customers, we rode out the storm and thrived . . . until the earthquake of 1994. We rebuilt, reopened, and regained our customer’s support. But, there is more. The next year, we were victimized by a fire, and were once again sidelined. After a few setbacks with building codes, we were able to reopen in a scant three weeks and there were our clients waiting, clamoring to have another go at our unique menu.
Les Sisters’ . . . 2006
So, here we are, celebrating our 25th anniversary, and feeling the humility of knowing that we could not have done it without the consistent support of you: our customers. Now, Kevin’s daughter Jessica and son Kevin have joined the staff. It is hard for us to believe that we have three generations of Hulings involved in keeping our commitment to our promise to satisfy your good taste.
Lastly, it pleases us to know that all of the accolades that we have accumulated through these years are due to the appreciation shown by you, our valuable customers. After all is said and done, our being named Number 1 by Zagat many years in a row, and having been selected as the best in class by City Search is only due to the fact that we have made an impression upon both your tummy and taste buds, and we thank you for owning up to it.
Now, let’s go for 30 years!!
Les History/ Definitions:
WHAT'S IN LES NAME? In May 1986, Roda Hadi, Clara Huling, and Willie Stanford decided to open a restaurant in Chatsworth. However, they couldn't agree on an appropriate name; one that would give it a unique identity. Clara's husband Dr. Bill overheard them "discussing" their plight and said, "You ladies argue like sisters, so why don't you call it ‘THE SISTERS’?" Aha! It was a beginning, but they couldn't decide whether to feature Roda's spicy New Orleans Cajun, Clara's South-Western Soul, or Willie's East-Coast Southern. So, they opted for all three, deciding to let the people have their way with them. The name LES SISTERS' SOUTHERN KITCHEN captured the "flavor" of the menu.
LES MENU: Our food nestles into three tantalizing categories: SMOKED, SPICY, & SOUL.
SMOKED: Thundering out of the Southwest comes our RENOWN Barbequed Ribs ( Baby Back, or Spare), Sliced Top Round, Chicken, and for good measure, Shrimp, Hot Links, Char-bequed Fish, and Honey-Glazed Pork Chops (pardon me for drooling). There's this incredible dark BBQ sauce-, but you get the picture.
SPICY: Here is where we create the Cajun stuff. From our award-winning Jambalaya (Shrimp, Crawfish, Chicken or Veggie) and Creoles to our Filé Gumbo and (of course) Blacken' Fish, or Shrimp, your taste buds are in for a surprise. The scintillating effect of our secret blend of Louisiana spices upon your palate can be habit forming, for which we take no responsibility (other than to provide you with a continuing supply of the same)! Tell us if you want it mild, spicy, or WOWWW! when you order, and we'll be friendly to your taste buds.
SOUL: Ahh, at last, the real deal meal. Some of the best food in the world is called SOUL FOOD, but we concentrate only on the tried and true stuff that made us grow up HEALTHY (and obviously PRETTY!) It includes good ol' Southern Fried Chicken (Regular or Spicy), Fish, Catfish n' Hush Puppies, Shrimp, and world-class Smothered Chicken or Pork Chops. We offer you a choice of embellishments (Fixin's, honey!) which include Red Beans, Rice, Black-eyed Peas, Candied Yams, Corn Muffins, Collard Greens, Macaroni and Cheese, Potato Salad, and our own special Creamy Slaw and Spicy Rice, probably the best you have ever eaten. Mercy!
CAJUN (kay/joon), a very old French country style of cooking. It began in Southern France, moved to Nova Scotia, and then came to Louisiana. The Acadians adapted their dishes to include ingredients that grew from the area... bay leaves from the laurel tree, file' powder from the sassafras tree, and an abundance of different peppers, learning their use from the native Indians.
CREOLE (kree/ol), While both Cajun and Creole cooking have their roots in France, Creole cooking is considered more sophisticated and complex, as the African American cooks incorporated their own spices, home style cooking into their cuisines. Creole cooking began in New Orleans and is a mixture of the tradition of French, American Indian, and African American. Our interpretation of Creole starts with sauteed mushrooms, green peppers, green onions, and tomatoes in a red wine based tomato mixture, featuring chunks of boneless chicken or shrimp, an dour Louisiana spices. It is then simmered and placed atop our famous Les Sisters' yellow rice.
GUMBO ( gum/bo), an African word meaning "okra". Okay you caught us. WE use very little okra in our Gumbo. But the seafood version is loaded with tender pieces of fish, crab meat, sausage, chicken wings, and shrimp. This roux (rooh) based soup is seasoned with file' powder and is served with rice on the side though it can be eaten together.
JAMBALAYA ( jhum//buh/lie/ya), A rice dish, highly seasoned and strongly flavored with a combination of seafood, pork, sausage, and fowl. The word Jambalaya comes from the French "jambon" meaning ham; the African "ya" meaning rice; and the Acadians, where everything else is a "a la".
We start with sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, sweet Italian sausage, and your choice of boneless chunks of chicken, shrimp or crawfish tail meat ( when in season). The mixture is cooked in a white wine based and seasoned well with our blend of Cajun spices. We then add our famous yellow rice, and served this award winning dish with a slice of grilled french bread. This is by far the most popular entree here at Les Sisters.
LES PORTIONS: We just can't convince our chef that you can get too much of a good thing. Our portions are too large! So, please help us by (1) complaining about too much food, (2) grinning and bearing it, (3) be extra hungry when you come in, or (4) all of the above. By the way, as good as they are, we bet you can’t save room for one of our desserts!
LES ATMOSPHERE: We are a cozy, fun place where you can mingle informally with nice people including sometimes, a few celebrities like YOU! However, be forewarned that we have been favorably reviewed by people like Elmer Dills, Eric Boardman, Larry Lipson, and Merrill Shindler. So, sometimes you might have to call ahead for a reservation (Parties of 5 or larger). In any case, we have but one mission:
WE VOW TO HONOR YOUR GOOD TASTE!
Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ