For Christopher Sheng, food is the family business. His mother, Freda Cheng, opened her namesake restaurant in 2003, and Christopher, who now helps manage Freda’s Seafood Grille, practically grew up there.
The restaurant offers steak and seafood with a Cajun flair, including dishes such as grilled Gulf Coast shrimp, roasted Chilean sea bass and blackened red snapper with crawfish etouffee.
Christopher said his grandmother, Linda Cheng, moved to Austin from Taiwan in the 1960s, when Freda was a teenager. Linda opened a Chinese restaurant called Sisters on Burnet Road, which remained open for 19 years, he said.
After about 10 years helping her mother and three brothers operate Sisters, Freda branched out on her own and opened Orient Square, a Chinese food restaurant, in Georgetown.
After 18 years in business, Freda closed Orient Square to try something new, Christopher said. She traveled to New York, Seattle and New Orleans, exploring the different types of food each city had to offer. When she returned, she began working on the menu for Freda’s Seafood Grille,
Although the menu has changed throughout the years, staple items such as hand-cut Angus beef steaks and seafood that is delivered fresh daily have remained, he said. Freda’s prides itself on casual fine dining, Christopher said, which is reflected in the restaurant itself—dark and cozy with low lighting, but without the frill of tablecloths and dinner jackets.
Happy hour is offered daily from 4-7 p.m. at the bar and on the patio. On Thursday, happy hour lasts all night. Specials include seafood gumbo, shrimp quesadillas and a crabcake. Drink specials include $2 off glasses of wine, a frozen margarita and a mango cosmopolitan. Select bottles of wine are half-off every Wednesday night.
Freda’s offers a wealth of indoor and outdoor seating for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.[/caption]
Kitchen Manager Victor Orellana said he has worked at Freda’s since it opened, first as a prep cook and then as a cook, with stints as a server and a bartender.
He said the Pecan Park Boulevard location was relatively solitary in 2003. Now the restaurant is a neighbor to office parks and housing communities.
“This area is growing fast,” Orellana said.
The homemade white chocolate bread pudding ($7) is a customer favorite, managers say.[/caption]
The Sunday brunch buffet is offered weekly from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For $26, customers are offered a selection of traditional breakfast foods as well as hand-cut prime rib, pesto tilapia, fried shrimp and all-you-can-eat snow crab. Bottomless mimosas are available for $10.