Dinner and Main Course: Chef Paul’s Cafe

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — When you’re in the mood for soul food, it can only mean one thing…

It’s time to pop into Chef Paul’s Cafe in downtown Fresno’s Chinatown.

Sizzling sounds serve as the constant soundtrack to Chef Paul’s Cafe.

Those in the know know where to go in Fresno.

“Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and cornbread. Have you been here before? Yes, sir,” says Ed Oden, who is from Coalinga.

Paul Pearson is known for his fine cuisine and engaging personality.

People can’t get enough of fried chicken with homemade seasoning.

“There’s no secret to what we do. We brine our chicken for 24 hours in a solution of salt, sugar and black pepper,” he says. “I attribute the success of this restaurant actually to my wife. She was the backbone of it.”

Pinky’s fried chicken is her recipe.

Regulars know best to beat the midday crowd.

“It gets very crowded here, especially at lunchtime. We’ve been here before and there’s a queue at the door,” says Jared Little of Hanford.

There are so many dishes to please the palate.

“We have shrimp and oatmeal with our sourdough toast…we also have fried green tomatoes with the arugula aioli or the spicy aioli,” says Pearson.

Pearson, 72, never stops greeting customers, even at catering events.

“I have to say my favorite thing is the people I meet,” he says.

Sometimes the guests are famous. Once, a friend brought in actress Tyra Banks.

“At the end, she says, ‘How much do I owe you?’ I said, ‘We’re closed today, you couldn’t pay me enough to do this,'” Pearson explains.

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