Downtown River welcomes it's newest fast casual restaurant, Fresco, a Mexican eatery with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Fresco's first location in Kent, Ohio is a smash hit with locals, and it's sure to be a popular spot in our neighborhood as well.
Owner T.J. Ingersoll recently shared why he chose Downtown River for Fresco's newest location and answered some questions about their concept, history and menu offerings.
Why did you choose Rocky River for Fresco's location?
After an extensive and exhausting search for our second location, we finally felt at home when we found our location in Rocky River. This city has everything we were hoping for; a thriving community that loves to support local businesses, wonderful community members and leaders, excellent restaurants and taverns, and many delightful boutique shops which create a bustling, vibrant downtown with a rich history. The welcome and support we have received from local businesses has made us confident we have made the right decision in coming here. The enthusiasm we have seen via our social media websites has us more excited than ever! We look forward to becoming a productive and supportive member of this outstanding community and Pirate Pit! River Up!
What is the inspiration behind the Fresco concept?
Fresco is a blend of some of our favorite aspects of many restaurants, not exclusive to Mexican. Obviously, Mexican is the driving force behind Fresco, however, we improved on past restaurant experiences; both as operators and customers, to create an efficient, high-quality concept. If I had to choose one inspiring restaurant, though, I would say Baja Fresh, which I loved as a child.
What do most customers say about your menu?
Customers often comment on the vast variety of options. Considering we are a fast-casual restaurant, we offer much more than people expect. Customers love the fact we prepare everything fresh to order, giving them the freedom to customize their meal. Gluten-Free customers, Vegetarians and Vegans are extremely appreciative that over 90% can be modified in consideration of their respective dietary needs.
Does Fresco have any seasonal menu offerings?
We are constantly tweaking and improving upon recipes. Every once in a while, we create a new dish and run it as a special to gauge its acceptance. We offer multiple seasonal salsas, including, but not limited to; pineapple, watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin seed, cranberry, fire-roasted corn, spicy apple, strawberry, melon, mango, lemongrass, poblano. We make everything fresh daily, so these salsas are constantly rotating, keeping in mind the more popular salsas are prepared more frequently than others, in turn, spending more time at the salsa bar. The other seven 'anchor' salsas are always available.
What's your favorite item on the menu?
Tough question. Pulled Pork Tacos are my favorite. I love the Bean and Bacon Quesadilla, though, as well as the Taco Salad. No meal is complete without our homemade queso dip, which has yet to be rivaled by any other queso dip I've had; and I make it a point to try queso dip every opportunity afforded to me, both locally and throughout the country. Homemade Key Lime Pie is a must, only surpassed by those offered in South Florida and The Keys. Our recipe comes from my friend's grandmother, who was kind enough to pass it on to me during one of my visits to Key West.
How long have you been in the restaurant business?
I have been in the restaurant business for over 23 years. I began prepping food and washing dishes in my father's restaurant when I was 8 years old. From there, I progressed through each position year-by-year; busser, fry cook, host, grill cook, line cook, server, bartender, key employee, assistant manager, general manager.
Do you have any favorite spots (stores, restaurants, services) in Downtown River?
Joe's Deli & Restaurant, Sweet Melissa's, and Salmon Dave's. I really enjoy The Olive Scene. Dugan's Barber Shop is always an interesting experience.