Fresko shared this mystery creation on Facebook, hinting that it might make an appearance as a chef’s special after the new restaurant opens in the next few weeks. Photo: Fresko.
Writer: Wini Moranville
As a chef told me a couple of years ago, “Farm to table isn’t the headline anymore.” That is, any good restaurant should by now be sourcing fresh, local, seasonal food as much as possible.
So when I was talking to Erick Brown, executive chef/managing partner of Fresko, I had to ask: What is the headline for this new fresh-focused farm-to-table restaurant? How will it distinguish itself from the other local venues already doing great work in this genre?
The answer? Size.
For starters, the menu will be huge: “We’ll have 76 core items on our menu,” Brown says. Choices will include everything from burgers, sushi and street tacos to French toast and Wagyu beef.
But, he says, it’s the far-reaching features that will especially set the menu apart. Rather than being pigeonholed into any category of food, the features, especially, will span the globe. “One day it might be Italian or Mediterranean, then we’ll move into something Indian or South American or Mexican.”
Good ingredients, however, will be the foundation of everything: “We want to focus first on where the food itself comes from,” Brown says. “Then, we’ll figure out how to present it.”
The space itself will also be vast: Located in the Federal Home Loan Bank Building (909 Locust St.), which underwent extensive renovation in 2018, the dining room will seat 245, with additional seating for 70 for private parties. Sounds like we have another downtown hot spot—along the line of Centro, Bubba and Americana—on the horizon.
Fresko is part of the same restaurant group that includes Louie’s Wine Dive, which has locations in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas in addition to Des Moines. The goal, Brown says, is to “test the waters in a smaller market [Des Moines],” and then possibly expand Fresko other areas.
Brown hails from St. Louis, where he’s lived and worked all his life (save for a stint at Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona). His 20-plus years of experience includes long stints at the esteemed Cardwell’s at the Plaza in Frontenac and the St. Louis Racquet Club; he most recently helmed his own culinary consulting firm.
Brown wouldn’t commit to an opening date, but he estimates that a limited menu should be available by the end of this month.
Keep up with Fresko’s latest developments on their Facebook page.