Fresca Tequila Bar & Grill: Mexican Fusion In A Farmhouse Atmosphere

When Colchester’s Hung Won Asian Grille closed after 17 years in business, Jen Marozzi saw her opportunity to realize a longtime dream of owning a restaurant.

“I really wasn’t ready,” she says. But “I said there’s never going to be a better time...everything was all kind of falling into place.”

Marozzi had a desire to bring something different to the town with a restaurant scene heavy on Italian and Asian eateries. She considered Caribbean and Latin fare, ultimately deciding on Mexican fusion, with a mix of traditional, authentically prepared dishes and others with creative spin.

After nearly five months of construction, Fresca Tequila Bar & Grill opened in July, offering a fresh dining experience for Colchester and visitors from surrounding towns. The 110-seat restaurant has become a favorite for first dates, girls’ nights out and families alike, Marozzi says.

THE ATMOSPHERE: Marozzi calls the restaurant’s decor “Mexican farmhouse,” a modern, airy, light-filled space with neutral colors and touches of wood. Fresca’s cantina bar area, separated from the main dining room, features comfortable banquette seating with throw pillows. “Both rooms are a little different, but we wanted the atmosphere to be welcoming and warm,” she says.

FEATURED/NOTEWORTHY DISHES: Starters feature classics like chips with salsas, guacamole and queso; quesadillas, Mexican street corn and buffalo wings with avocado crema along with Fresca’s twists on others: housemade Mexican egg rolls with corn, black beans, spinach and cheese; Mexican poutine, featuring rounded “pig ear” French fries topped with Negro Modelo gravy, queso and a fried egg; and mussels poached in a Pacifico beer broth with chorizo.

Street tacos are favorites, with unique fillings and flavors like fried oysters, Korean beef, crispy fried avocado, honey pork belly, Southern fried chicken and duck confit. They’re available a la carte, or in a three-taco platter with rice and beans.

Entrees pull from various culinary influences, like a Spanish-influenced seafood paella, smoked crispy duck leg with an apple mole sauce, a Mediterranean sea bass with tomatoes, garlic and olives and a “vaquero steak” — a 22-ounce bone-in rib-eye, sourced from the Lucky Goat Butcher Shop in East Hampton.

“Enchirritos,” Fresca’s blend of burritos and enchiladas, are stuffed with choice of filling (grilled steak and shrimp, carnitas or vegetables) then topped with queso, salsa verde and pico de gallo.

Desserts include flan topped with caramel sauce and candied popcorn, a chocolate lava cake, sopapillas with chocolate and caramel sauces, and a Fresca/Doughluv collaboration, featuring a scoop of the Colchester business’s edible cookie dough in a fried cinnamon tortilla shell.

Sunday brunch runs weekly from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a breakfast quesadilla, chicken and waffles, eggs Benedict, assorted omelets and mango peach French toast, along with special cocktails.

THE BAR: Tequila and beer dominate Fresca’s bar, with an extensive selection of blancos, reposados, añejos and specialty bottles, along with eight rotating taps of local, regional and national craft brews. Margaritas with fresh housemade sour mix and cocktails are named for Marozzi’s girlfriends, like Tracy’s Spicy Peach, Gina’s Elderflower, Patty’s Cranrita, Tina’s Lemonade and Lana’s Lime in the Coconut. Fresca also offers tequila flights, barrel-aged cocktails and three different mules with rye, tequila and vodka in copper mugs.

PRICING: Starters are $3 to $9.95. Street tacos are $4 to $4.50 apiece or $14.95 for a platter. Soups and salads are $6 to $11. Entrees are $14 to $28. Desserts are $6 to $7 and kids meals are $5 to $6.75. Margaritas and cocktails are $9 to $11.

HOURS: Fresca is open Tuesday through Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (brunch) and 2 to 9 p.m. (dinner.) The kitchen closes a half-hour prior to closing.

Fresca Tequila Bar & Grill is at 232 New London Road in Colchester. 860-531-9234,

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