Friday, March 23, 2012
Fresa's Chicken Drive-Thru About To Hatch
Succulent Mexican-inspired chicken is the spotlight. Unlike common supermarket rotisserie chicken, Fresa’s is slow-grilled over hardwood charcoal to lock in robust flavors and juices, giving it a rich, deep smokiness and savory charred skin. Served as a complete meal, whole or half-chicken dinners are perfect for busy couples or families and come with rice, beans, grilled onions, jalapenos, salsa and tortillas.
Fresa means ‘strawberry’ in Spanish, but it’s also a cheeky slang for trendy Mexican urbanites. The name and concept came from a seasoned team of Austin restaurateurs: Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman from Lambert’s, Perla’s, and Elizabeth Street Café, and Tracy Overath and Margaret Vera from Stubb’s. It was Vera’s frequent visits to east Austin’s Mexican chicken joints that served as Fresa’s inspiration. As a busy working mom and wife, she would often turn to El Pollo Rico or Pollo Regio for fast, filling dinners to go. But she dreamed of a central Austin version with better quality and a hipper ambiance. Thus, Fresa’s was born.
Almost everything at Fresa’s is made in-house: from the salsas and tortillas, to the salads and desserts. Chickens are exclusively sourced from Peeler Farms in Floresville, Texas, where they’re humanely pasture-raised and fed top quality, non-GMO feed that is always void of any animal by-products or medicines.
Although Fresa’s size and menu is compact, there’s still room for variety. Charcoal grilled chicken comes in two flavorful marinades: the classic Numero Uno, in a blend of achiote and citrus, and the Numero Dos, seasoned with fresh oregano and cracked black pepper. Sides included in the meal include charro or black beans, Mexican or white rice, corn tortillas and red and green salsas.
Fresa’s also offers salads and sides to accompany meals. There are three sharing-sized salads: the Chopped Salad with chickpeas and fresh spinach, the Ranch Salad with crisp veggies, and the Caesar Salad with cotija cheese, lime dressing and bolillo croutons. Also on the menu is a classic Mexican fruit cup with melon, jicama and seasonal fruits, plus lime and chili powder for extra zip. Sides of Mexican Street Corn, Grilled Vegetables, and Spicy Potato Salad are also available.
In addition to complete meals, Fresa’s offers three torta sandwiches served on Bolillo rolls: The Classic, pulled chicken with traditional toppings like lettuce, tomato, avocado and Mexican crema, The Gringa, a delicious grilled chicken salad, and the Veggie made with grilled queso fresco.
Homemade ice cream comes in both classic and seasonal flavors. Beverages are packed to go, including Mexican sodas, fresh fruit aguas frescas, and a variety of bottled beers and wine. Environmentally thoughtful, Fresa’s prepares all orders with minimal packaging.
Fresa’s is located at 915 North Lamar Boulevard, the former site of the Back-in-a-Flash photo store and Emerald City coffee shop. The petite two-story building has been creatively remodeled to accommodate a hulking eight-foot, custom grill downstairs and a prep kitchen, food storage and office upstairs. It will have an eight-car drive-thru queue and five parking spots for walk-up customers.
Austin landscape designer Mark Word will enhance Fresa’s drive-thru experience. Paul Fucik of Arts and Recreation is spearheading creative branding. And local artist Evan Voyles is crafting the revolving neon chicken that will rule the roost high above flocks of hungry customers. At the opening, look for a dancing chicken mascot donning a custom chicken suit designed and hand-tailored by the collaborative team of local visual artist Nathan Green and seamstress extraordinaire Chrissy Paszalek.
Fresa’s Chicken Al Carbon is open daily from 11am until 11pm. For more information visit www.fresaschicken.com.