OCEAN CITY – Since 2001, Fresco’s has been providing delicious food, top-notch ambiance and a breathtaking view of the bay. With 2008 just around the corner, Fresco’s is looking forward to another year of good food, friends and success.
Fresco’s owner and operator Pino Tomasello has been living in Ocean City for nearly 30 years and contributing to the restaurant environment of Ocean City for almost as long. Tomasello opened his first restaurant, Pino’s Pizza, in 1983. His life in the restaurant business has continued since then with a 33rd Street restaurant, Giovanni’s, and later Fresco’s, which opened in 2001.
Despite over 20 years in the restaurant business, Tomasello can still be found working hard in the kitchen, making sure every dish is made to perfection.
“After so many years in the food business, I’m still involved in the kitchen, from the buying to serving the dish,” Tomasello said. “The kitchen is where I spend much of my time.”
Tomasello explained that he often tells his friends and family that he wouldn’t still be doing it if he didn’t enjoy it. He added that he often tells his staff, “If you don’t enjoy, you should not do the job.”
It is that dedication and love for his business that has turned Fresco’s into a successful and popular restaurant.
“To keep the quality, you have to be on top of it,” Tomasello said.
Tomasello does not work alone though, attributing a lot of his success to the help of his wife, Karen, and his loyal staff. While Tomasello oversees and maintains the kitchen, Karen runs the front of the house, coordinating parties and overseeing all of the front operations. Tomasello also noted the great staff that he has, explaining part of his reasoning behind staying open year-round is so he can maintain a quality, full-time staff. “It’s important when you have good people to keep them,” he said.
The menu at Fresco’s offers a wide variety of Italian and American cuisine. A meal can range from Muscles Positano as an appetizer to a Crab Louie salad to Lobster Fradiavlo as an entrée. The entrée selection ranges from Fettuccini Bolognese to broiled crab cakes. An extensive wine list is also available to choose from to compliment each meal.
Tomasello, who is originally from Italy, returns to Italy each year to visit his family and to garner new ideas for recipes and dishes. He noted the change in Italian cuisine that he has seen over the past 30 years in Ocean City. He explained that when he first got started in the restaurant business people were interested in two types of Italian dishes, spaghetti with meatballs and lasagna. Today, people’s tastes are broader and more particular, according to Tomasello, who explained that travel has increased so have people’s tastes and experiences with food. As a result, Fresco’s presents a variety of Italian dishes for people to treat their palettes with.
“I’m fortunate to be in this location,” Tomasello said of the 82nd Street bayfront location that gives every table in the restaurant an astounding view of the bay. Tomasello noted that whether it’s a perfect sunset or it’s pouring down rain, the customers enjoy the “natural view” that sets the mood for dining and relaxing. “The food, of course, makes the evening,” Tomasello said, noting that the view is a nice compliment to the menu.
Coming off a “great” summer season with Fresco’s and its sister establishment, Jive, Tomasello is providing a variety of wintertime specials at Fresco’s including a three-course prix-fix meal. Tomasello explained that he tries to provide the specials as thanks to all of the local support. As for the specials, Tomasello guarantees the quality of each dish.
“A special should always be a good product,” he said, adding that whether the special is veal, fish or steak, it doesn’t need to be overdone with garnishes and sauces if is it a good product.
Tomasello noted his love for Ocean City, where he essentially grew up and where his three sons, ranging from ages 10 to 18 have been growing up. He noted that although the unique resort lifestyle can provide for an alternating busy/slow schedule, he enjoys every minute of it. Tomasello explained that the stress of the busy summer months and the seven-day work weeks are balanced out by the slower winter months that give him an opportunity to unwind, relax, travel and enjoy the down time.