Lakeland: Frescos

Photograph of singer Melissa Crispo singing and playing acoustic guitar
Singer Melissa Crispo, one of the performers at Polk Pride 2018

We attended Polk Pride 2018 in downtown Lakeland recently. It was a fun day. In a time when so much of the news is heartbreaking, it was an opportunity to find something to be hopeful about. Since we were downtown, we headed for an early lunch at Frescos, a downtown staple that opened in 2009.

Frescos restaurant exterior in Lakeland, FloridaWe seemed to arrive when the breakfast crowd was thinning out but the lunch crowd hadn’t arrived yet. It was a little busy but we didn’t have to wait for a seat. There is some outdoor seating, also.

Frescos restaurant interior in Lakeland, FloridaThe decor is very contemporary. Frescos is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days (but not all, so check their schedule before you go). Some evenings they offer live music. Our server was very pleasant but seemed very busy, it looked like she was required to take care of customers inside and outside.

BBQ chicken sandwich with house chips at Frescos restaurant in Lakeland, FloridaWe ordered conventional iced tea to drink (I wish I had reflected on that more, because later I noticed a large selection of black, green, and herbal teas along one wall). For lunch (we were offered a combined breakfast and lunch menu, and just preferred “lunch foods” at the time), my wife ordered a BBQ chicken sandwich. The sandwich was offered grilled, fried, or blackened, and she chose grilled. Side options were house chips, potato salad, pasta salad, or slaw. She got the house chips. The sandwich came with a brioche bun. The chips were excellent, not overly salty like so many chips.

Fried green tomato BLT sandwich and potato salad at Frescos restaurant in Lakeland, FloridaI ordered a fried green tomato BLT sandwich with potato salad. The potato salad was excellent – I like potato salad that is light on celery and onions (preferably with none at all), and this qualified. Not too heavy on the mayo, either. The sandwich had a good, quality bacon and the bread was Texas Toast, a nice choice for this kind of sandwich. The only thing I wasn’t wild about was the fried green tomatoes (which I generally love). I felt the breading on the tomatoes didn’t really complement the rest of the sandwich – this is entirely personal preference, it just didn’t grab me. I did request my sandwich without the standard lettuce, and it came with lettuce anyway, though the lettuce slices were easy enough to remove. Based on that and a couple of questions we asked when ordering, we got the impression customization might be a bit of a challenge at Frescos. However, other than the flavor of the tomato breading, I enjoyed everything about my meal.

Overall, everything was quite good and we were happy with the experience. Frescos seems to be using quality ingredients and preparing dishes in interesting combinations. We felt the price was reasonable – just over $33 with tip – for the food we received and the prime downtown location. Frescos is on South Kentucky Street, at the corner of East Lemon Street, an easy walk from Munn Park or Lake Mirror.

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