October 15, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
The owners of a Mexican fusion restaurant in Astoria are planning to open a second restaurant in the neighborhood.
Brian Martinez, co-owner of Fresco’s Cantina on 31st Avenue with husband Adrian Suero, will open a partner restaurant at 28-50 31st Street next month. The business will occupy a 2,400 square foot space that was previously used as a gastropub called The Astorian.
The new restaurant will be called Fresco’s Grand Cantina and will operate similarly to Fresco’s Cantina, known for being an LGBTQ restaurant. This venue is popular for its in-house drag events and viewings of 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 operate together 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 Tasting Nights.
Martinez said the couple are 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 colors replacing the old black facade. New signage has also been put in place.
The ground floor has been revamped with rustic wood and neutral tones to replicate the look of Fresco’s Cantina while the upper floor has been decorated in bright colors with pictures by Mexican artist Frida Khalo hanging to the walls, Martinez said.
The establishment can accommodate 74 people on the ground floor and 70 upstairs.
There is also a patio at the back 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 about 30 people, Martinez said.
Martinez said the restaurant will serve a variety of foods prepared with a Mexican twist. There will be steaks, burgers, pastas, 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 Parmesan Taco was their most popular taco. It’s filled with chicken made with breadcrumbs, four kinds of cheese, homemade marinara sauce and fresh basil.
Fresco’s Grand Cantina will serve an array of specialty margaritas and offer 12 different beers on tap, Martinez said.
Hours of operation will be 3 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. to midnight Sunday.
The restaurant will initially be closed on Mondays, but Martinez said he hopes to be open seven days a week in the future.