Fresno Beehive

‘A great restaurant in a sketchy town.’ Joe Rogan raves about this Fresno food spot

Chef Paul’s Cafe in downtown Fresno serves up some of the best chicken and waffles. It is possible to get them with scrambled eggs and onions with melted cheese on top for a hearty breakfast.
Chef Paul’s Cafe in downtown Fresno serves up some of the best chicken and waffles. It is possible to get them with scrambled eggs and onions with melted cheese on top for a hearty breakfast. Special to The Bee

Chef Paul’s Cafe is a place you need to check off your Fresno foodies list, if you judge by Yelp reviews.

Or by the endorsements of celebrities like comedian Joe Rogan, who raved about the restaurant on the latest episode of his podcast.

The impromptu review comes about 45 minutes into Rogan’s interview with fellow comedian Greg Fitzsimmons.

“Duuuude. You know how sometimes you’re on the road and you find a place that is just (expletive) off-the-charts good?” Rogan asked.

“If you’re in Fresno, ladies and gentlemen, Chef Paul’s Cafe. I (expletive) give it two thumbs up. Five stars.”

The exchange was actually a tangent of sorts, set off by mention of the Kool Aid Man ad campaign from the 1970s.

Chef Paul’s has the drink on its menu.

“That’s my Kool Aid recipe,” says Monique Pearson, daughter of the restaurant’s owner and namesake Paul Pearson.

Rogan visited the restaurant last February, she says.

He had the oxtails.

And the Kool Aid, obviously.

PC_ChefPaulCafe-3
Chef Paul Pearson is developing a loyal following with dishes like chicken and waffles, greens and grits. Special to The Bee

Rogan isn’t the only celebrity to find their way into Chef Paul’s. Supermodel Tyra Banks had a private luncheon while she was in town for the Central Valley Women’s Conference in September. Pearson also remembers comedian D.L. Hughley stopping into the restaurant. R&B singer Lloyd came by when he was in town as did the cast of “Love and Hip Hop,” Pearson says.

And when word gets out, there’s usually a bump in business. The restaurant had already received several calls Thursday morning, and Pearson and her father were both getting texts about Rogan’s podcast. Pearson expects there will be a rush over the next few days.

Of course, Rogan’s memory of the city was way less glowing than his review of the cafe.

“It’s a great restaurant, in a sketchy town,” he said.

“We were driving down the street and there’s like homeless communities, skid row style.”

In fact, it took him a moment to place Chef Paul’s in Fresno at all.

“What’s that (expletive) town in California?” he asked.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

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Joshua Tehee covers breaking news for The Fresno Bee, with a focus on entertainment and a heavy emphasis on the Central Valley music scene. You can see him share the area’s top entertainment options Friday mornings on KMPH’s “Great Day” and read more of his work here.
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