Oct. 15, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
The owners of a Mexican fusion restaurant in Astoria are planning on opening a second venue in the neighborhood.
Brian Martinez, who co-owns Fresco’s Cantina on 31st Avenue with his husband Adrian Suero, will open a sister 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 run along similar lines to Fresco’s Cantina, known for being a LGBTQ-friendly restaurant. That venue is popular for its in-house drag events and viewings of the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race. The restaurant also used a drag queen delivery service during the height of the pandemic last year.
The new establishment will be the couple’s second establishment together having operated 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 pair are waiting on a liquor license to come through before opening their new restaurant. They expect it to be open by the second week of November, he said.
The owners have already refurbished the building with the exterior painted in bright yellow and red colors replacing the old black façade. New signage has also gone up.
The ground floor has been revamped with rustic wood and neutral tones to replicate the look of Fresco’s Cantina while the upstairs has been decorated in vibrant colors with pictures of the Mexican artist Frida Khalo hanging on the walls, Martinez said.
The establishment seats 74 people downstairs and 70 upstairs.
There is also a patio area to the rear of the building that has been filled with plants and flowers to give a jungle feel. It can be used all year round since it has a retractable roof. It seats around 30 people, Martinez said.
Martinez said the restaurant will serve a variety of foods made with a Mexican twist. There will be steaks, burgers, pastas, burritos and 15 varieties of tacos, he said.
“We are known for our tacos and we are always adding new types to our menu,” Martinez said.
He said the chicken parm taco is their most popular taco. It comes filled with chicken made with bread crumbs, four different kinds of cheese, homemade marinara sauce and fresh basil.
Fresco’s Grand Cantina will serve a range of specialty margaritas and will have 12 different beers on tap, Martinez said.
Opening hours will be from 3 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays to Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. to midnight on Sundays.
The restaurant will initially be closed on Mondays but Martinez said they hope to be open seven days a week in the future.