Fresko: New, Bright, and well, Fresh!

A dinner review on a new restaurant in Des Moines: Fresko: Natural Food

The outside of Fresko facing Locust St

Becca Youngers, Editor-in-chief

Being in the restaurant business is tough enough as it is, and when COVID-19 was added to the mix, some restaurants thrived while others not so much. Opening a restaurant during unprecedented times could have been seen as a risk by some people in the restaurant industry, but the people of Des Moines have needed something new, fresh, if you will.


Fresko, a new restaurant located in the heart of Des Moines, opened for carryout on August 19th, and opened their doors to customers on September 12th. Fresko, through their website, says, “Fresko believes we are what we eat and eating well means living well.” 


I had seen Fresko come up many times on my Yelp app as my family and I get takeout from a local restaurant every Saturday night. Being a vegetarian, it has become easier to find options at most restaurants, but often there is one “token” vegetarian option, and people have vastly different tastes and preferences when it comes to food. This fortunately was not the case with Fresko’s options available.


They currently offer three food menus: brunch, lunch, and dinner, and multiple drink menus along with happy hour specials. Their menu makes it very easy to navigate and to follow restrictions and preferences from customer-to-customer. Their menu also has a lot of diversity in the food options they offer. They offer everything from flatbreads to sushi. My family and I ordered carryout from Fresko on Saturday October 10th, and here’s what we thought.


Sea Salt and Pepper Chips from Fresko (Becca Youngers)

Sea Salt & Pepper Chips

Instead of starting with one of their “starters” on the menu, we decided to opt for the sea salt & pepper potato chips. From first glance, they looked about as good as chips can look in a takeout box. The taste and texture were really pleasing. The chip was just a classic ruffled kettle potato chip, but the pepper was the showstopper of the side. The pepper added a nice spice to the chips without being extremely overpowering.



Chorizo Seitan Tacos from Fresko (Becca Youngers)

Chorizo Seitan Tacos 

Looking at the menu, this vegan taco option interested me a lot. I had never tried anything with seitan as the protein option in my three plus years of being vegetarian. The four tacos included the seitan, pico de gallo, and guacamole all double-wrapped in white corn tortillas. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the flavors of the tacos, but I was extremely impressed. A typical issue with plant based protein options is that it can be quite difficult to season them well without using half of your spice cabinet. These tacos were packed with flavor and the texture of the seitan was really pleasing. The added flavors with the pico and guacamole elevated the taco without it being too overpowering. The element of the double-wrapped corn tortillas added a bit more substance and glue that held the tacos together very nicely. These tacos were some of the best plant based tacos I have had in my time being vegetarian.


The Killer Sushi Roll from Fresko (Becca Youngers)

The Killer Sushi Roll

My mom ordered The Killer. It included blue crab, cucumber, unagi, avocado, spicy mayo, tobiko, tempura shrimp, and was served with wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce. The presentation alone sold my entire family on the sushi from Fresko. It was colorful and inviting. From the first bite, the sushi was refreshing and tasty. As most sushi is, it was packed with flavors that coexisted together beautifully. My mom was very impressed with the sushi as the menu at Fresko is pretty vast, and she didn’t know how much focus would be on the sushi portion of the menu. The execution of the sushi showed that the team of chefs at Fresko are skilled in many different cuisines. 



The Horseradish Burger from Fresko (Becca Youngers)

The Horseradish Burger 

My dad opted for the horseradish burger. Often when we get takeout or even eat in, my dad likes to keep it classic and get a burger. It’s pretty simple, but with the right ingredients can be elevated a lot. The Horseradish Burger came with havarti cheese, bacon, bibb lettuce, fresh tomato, and remoulade all on a brioche bun. From first glance, the burger looked really appealing. The portion was a good size, the bun looked buttered to perfection, and the strips of bacon peeking out looked very crispy. The burgers at Fresko are also served with roasted potatoes and have the option for gluten free buns. Though potatoes may seem a bit random to serve with a burger as fries are the usual, they come well-seasoned and fluffy, and I think it’s kind of unique to serve with potatoes. The burger itself was well-cooked and tasty. It was nothing too out of the ordinary, but you can never go wrong with a classic burger on a Saturday night.


Ambiance and Service

Though my family and I did not dine-in, what the team at Fresko has done with the space they have is nice. They put in large windows facing Locust St and have an aesthetically pleasing outside that draws in customers. The inside has high ceilings, clean finishes, and an open concept. They designed the space to be able to have large groups while also incorporating small spaces for families, couples, or friends to have a more private dining experience. 


The service through the online ordering system was done really well for a restaurant that had only been open for around a month. Our order pickup time was 7:12 p.m., and at 7:13 p.m. when we arrived our food was ready to go.


Overall, I think Fresko really has an edge on the restaurant scene in the Des Moines area. The menu is so vast in flavors, cuisine, and dietary restrictions for all meals. If you are in the search for something new and exciting for a Saturday night dinner or a Sunday brunch, Fresko is the place to go. Fresko has implemented in my mind a new standard for restaurants in the Des Moines area, and I think that existing restaurants and up and coming restaurants alike will notice the efforts of Fresko. I hope to return to Fresko for brunch or lunch soon, hungry for more.

Fresko’s Website here

Fresko’s Address 909 LOCUST ST. SUITE 103, DES MOINES, IA 50309

Fresko’s Phone  515-630-7009