Austin: Chicken.

I have THING with chicken. Not a thing like something romantic and fling-y, a thing like I’m afraid to touch raw chicken and I’ve learned to buy single-serve Boulder Naturals packets that I can cut open and dump into a pan without touching even though it’s terribly un-eco-friendly but it’s just about the only way I will ever eat chicken. I also occasionally buy Coleman breaded chicken tenders and dip them in buffalo sauce and bake them and think about the days before I only ate free-ranging animals when I ate at Pluckers and how much I loved their buffalo chicken tenders.

I digress. Point is that I’ve often seen those pre-cooked whole chickens in the grocery stores of the world and wished I could consume them (well, only sort of, to be honest, as touching a cooked chicken with bones and wings is only slightly above touching raw chicken on my personal ick scale). Enter:
Fresa's Chicken al Carbon 

Fresa’s Chicken Al Carbon plans to light up central Austin with an 8-foot neon chicken and signature take-out meals. In the old Emerald City Press spot on Lamar, the  take-out ONLY restaurant will spotlight chicken: Fresa’s is slow-grilled over hardwood charcoal to lock in robust flavors and juices, giving it a rich, deep smokiness and savory charred skin. There are two flavorful marinades: the classic Numero Uno, in a blend of achiote and citrus, and the Numero Dos, seasoned with fresh oregano and cracked black pepper. Served as a complete meal, whole or half-chicken dinners are perfect for busy couples or families and come with rice, beans, grilled onions, jalapenos, salsa, and tortillas.

Fresa means ‘strawberry’ in Spanish, but it’s also a cheeky slang for trendy Mexican urbanites. The name and concept came from a seasoned team of Austin restaurateurs: Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman from Lambert’sPerla’s, and Elizabeth Street Café, and Tracy Overath and Margaret Vera from Stubb’s.

Almost everything at Fresa’s is made in-house. Chickens are exclusively sourced from Peeler Farms in Floresville, Texas, where they’re humanely pasture-raised and fed top quality, non-GMO feed that is always void of any animal by-products or medicines.

Fresa’s also offers three different salads and Mexican Street Corn, grilled vegetables, and spicy potato salad sides. There are three torta sandwiches served on Bolillo rolls, plus homemade ice cream in both classic and seasonal flavors. Beverages are packed to go, including Mexican sodas, fresh fruit aguas frescas, and a variety of bottled beers and wine.

Looks like a certain large grocery store with prepared food just down the road has met its match. Wanna play chicken?

Fresa’s Chicken Al Carbon is open daily from 11am until 11pm. fresaschicken.com

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