In 1996, fresh out of high school, Daniel Enriquez began waiting tables at Hazel’s Kitchen. Nestled just outside of downtown you will find the quaint 1908 Victorian home full of character, bustling with orders from local patrons and friendly staff eager to greet you. Originally opened in 1995 by Don LeBaron and Gloria McCauslin, the restaurant hails its name from the late Hazel Hoyt, the home’s original owner and a former Tulare city clerk. Acquiring the restaurant in 2004, Enriquez continues to diversify the business.
Under the ownership of Enriquez (43), Hazel’s Kitchen has developed new ways to flourish while continuing to value what matters most, its patrons. The addition of a gift shop, home décor, and catering has allowed the business to evolve. “I like the idea of having the place decorated and having the decorations for sale,” he said. “The look of the restaurant is always changing and evolving.” Although growing, Hazel’s stays true to its original roots and encompasses a sense of family from when you walk in the door. Enriquez considers his patrons a part of his family-run business. “Our customers are like our family,” he said. “We’ve grown up together.”
Whether it’s the warm homemade cookies, or the atmosphere that draws you in, Enriquez has continued to make Hazel’s Kitchen feel like home. “The service and food set it apart from its competition,” he said. The restaurant is staffed by five of his family members, including his sisters, nieces, and nephews. They use fresh ingredients and make everything from scratch, including bread which is baked daily. Their signature menu items include the roasted red pepper chicken sandwich, Chinese chicken salad, and cobb salad. Their homemade dressings and delicious desserts are also among guests most popular items. “Customers that have been coming here for years want to come and have that same favorite meal,” he said.
Hazel’s is best known for lunch, which it serves from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm Monday through Friday – scaled back hours due to the pandemic. Typically, the restaurant caters events with fewer than 100 people such as baby and bridal showers. The restaurant has temporarily stopped indoor dining and its catering business because of COVID-19 but now offers online ordering and curbside pickup as well as outdoor dining in their flower garden and on their patio.