It originated in 1947 with brothers Robert and James Paschal opening Paschal's Restaurant at 837 West Hunter Street. In 1959 it moved across the street to its current location, where many of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement gathered to discuss their strategy and issues in the 1960s. This included Martin Luther King, Jr., Andrew Young, Hosea Williams, John Lewis, Ralph David Abernathy, Joseph Lowery, Jesse Jackson and others, leading it to be called the "unofficial headquarters" of the movement. In particular, King was rumored to be a fan of Paschal's vegetable soup. The restaurant was one of the first to seat black and white patrons together, in an era when segregated seating was the norm.
West Hunter Street was later renamed, and so Paschal's is now at 830 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. This location, including the restaurant and motor lodge, closed and was sold to Clark Atlanta University, where it is called The Paschal Center. The motel is used as a dormitory, while the historic restaurant is boarded-up.
There are currently two Paschal's Restaurants operating under The Paschal Restaurant Group, LLC: one in Concourse B of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and another freestanding one in the Castleberry Hill area along Northside Drive (U.S. 41 and U.S. 29). Paschal's also provides food service as a vendor at the airport.
Robert Paschal died in 1997. James died in 2008 at Piedmont Hospital, and his funeral was held at the nearby Morehouse College chapel. His significance to the community and the Civil Rights Movement was recognized by a New York Times obituary. Family squabbles and an attempted takeover from a former partner have left the future of Paschal's in question.
- "Remembering a Soul Food Legend Who Nurtured Civil Rights Leaders". New York Times. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- Carman, Tim. "Paschal's once a civil rights landmark, is in tatters". www.washingtonpost.com. Washington Post. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Paschal's Radio
- Paschal's History
- Paschal's Company Site
- Paschal's Atlanta Restaurant Site
- Paschal's OFFICIAL Facebook Page