‘I feel bad telling people we’re sold out’: Astoria restaurant expands popular drag brunch for Pride Month

Photo courtesy of Brian Martinez

For the past year and a half, Brian Martinez has been running his successful drag brunch at Fresco’s Cantina in Astoria.

Back in January 2018, the restaurateur wanted to bring the drag shows he attended in Manhattan to his patrons in Queens. But what started out as a four-week trial to drum up business eventually turned into a staple event, which sells out every Sunday according to Martinez.

Although Fresco’s Cantina at 12-14 31st Ave. has established a reputation for “authentic and modern Mexican cuisine,” the eatery is renowned for having the only drag brunch in Queens.

“The show is a variety show, the queens do all types of [musical] numbers and joke on each other. There’s news and political mentions. They do cartwheels and stuff on the floor. They’re really good at reading people’s vibe,” he said.

In honor of NYC Pride 2019, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, Martinez has been offering patrons a second seating to the popular noon show. Those interested can now attend the show at 3 p.m. every Sunday.

“I feel bad telling people we’re sold out,” said Martinez, who added that they seat 55 patrons per brunch.

As a member of the LGBT community, Martinez said that he makes sure to promote events that uplift his community. Every Sunday during Pride Month, Fresco’s will be welcoming drag queens like Juicy Lu and Hibiscus, who Martinez said have performed at Fresco’s in the past.

On Thursday, June 13, Martinez will introduce the first Noche in Mumbai event, which translates to “Nights in Mumbai” in English. The night includes a special Bollywood performance by Sundari the Indian Goddess and henna designs by Bharati Kemraj. Guests will also be treated to happy hour all night long and an “Indo-Caribbean” menu which includes Fresco’s famous Pollo Mumbai taco.

Starting on June 20, the restaurant will begin hosting drag bingo on Thursdays. The balls start rolling at 7 p.m. and players have the opportunity to win a cash jackpot after four rounds of gameplay. There will be a drag show between each round and patrons can purchase $7 mojitos, margaritas or mules.

For Martinez, hosting LGBT-positive events is important to him, especially during Pride Month. He shared that he wants patrons to feel welcomed and accepted when they dine at his restaurant.

“Being prideful and showing people we’re here means a lot,” he said.

For more information on Fresco’s Cantina, visit their website at frescoscantina.com or find them on Facebook @frescoscantina.