October 15, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
The owners of a Mexican fusion restaurant in Astoria are planning to open a second location in the neighborhood.
Brian Martinez, co-owner of Fresco’s Cantina on 31st Avenue with her husband Adrian Suero, will be opening a partner restaurant at 28-50 31st Street next month. The company will occupy a 2,400 square foot space that was previously used as a gourmet pub called The Astorian.
The new restaurant will be called Fresco’s Grand Cantina and will follow similar lines to Fresco’s Cantina, known to be an LGBTQ-friendly restaurant. This venue is popular for its in-house drag events and viewings of the RuPaul’s Drag Race TV show. The restaurant also used a drag queen delivery service during the height of the pandemic last year.
The new location will be the couple’s second location to jointly operate Fresco’s Cantina, located at 12-14 31st Ave., since 2017.
“Everyone will be welcome, families, friends and LGBTQ +,” Martinez said.
“We will have different events for different demographics. We will have drag bingo, drag brunch, comedy nights, game nights and dinner tasting nights.
Martinez said the two were waiting for a liquor license before opening their new restaurant. They expect it to be open by the second week of November, he said.
The owners have already renovated the building with the exterior painted in bright yellow and red replacing the old black facade. New signage has also been put in place.
The ground floor has been redesigned with rustic wood and neutral tones to replicate the look of Fresco’s Cantina, while the upstairs has been decorated in bright colors with images by Mexican artist Frida Khalo hanging on the walls. , said Martinez.
The establishment can accommodate 74 people on the ground floor and 70 upstairs.
There is also a patio at the rear of the building which has been filled with plants and flowers to give a jungle feel. It can be used all year round thanks to its retractable roof. It can accommodate around 30 people, Martinez said.
Martinez said the restaurant will serve a variety of foods prepared with a Mexican twist. There will be steaks, burgers, pasta, burritos and 15 varieties of tacos, he said.
“We’re known for our tacos and we’re always adding new types to our menu,” Martinez said.
He said the chicken parm taco is their most popular taco. It’s filled with chicken made with breadcrumbs, four different kinds of cheese, a homemade marinara sauce, and fresh basil.
La Grande Cantina de Fresco will serve a range of specialty margaritas and feature 12 different beers on tap, Martinez said.
The opening hours will be from 3 p.m. to midnight Tuesday to Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 3 p.m. to midnight on Sunday.
The restaurant will initially be closed on Monday, but Martinez said he hopes to be open seven days a week in the future.