By Amy L. Carlson   Published Aug 22, 2005 at 5:34 AM Photography: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography

{image1}The lower restaurant space at 770 N. Jefferson St. has housed many failed, yet highly conceptualized, eateries over the years, including Señor Frog's and more recently the Crab Shack.

Hopefully, Jefferson Street anchor businesses like Watts and Los Mitos, and the increased attendance at East Town Association's Jazz in the Park, will help this location's newest attempt, Fresche Pizzeria and Pub, thrive and grow, feeding the downtown masses with the "freschest" hand tossed and West Coast-style gourmet pizzas.

Earlier this summer, the former owner of Cudahy's popular Primavera Pizzeria on South Packard Avenue moved his place into the open and well-lit space that allows downtown diners to sample artichoke and roasted asiago dip ($6.95), blue cheese with bacon dip ($6.95), and a wide array of homemade pizzas below street level.

Toppings at Fresche range from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The menu offers everything from typical pepperoni and sausage to seafood, garlic and gourmet creations you'll find nowhere else in town.

Some eye-catching choices include a carbonara pizza (8-inch, $8.95, 14-inch, $13.95). Based on the popular Italian pasta dish, this pie features sauce, eggs, cream, cheese, bacon and a smattering of ground black pepper; a more typical four seasons pizza ($10.95, $15.95) featuring sauce, cheese, salami, ham and eggs; and a Creole spicy pizza ($10.95, $15.95) topped with andouille sausage, red sauce, crawfish, okra, corn, red peppers and cheese.

{image2}For diners who cannot find anything exactly matching their desires on the menu, Fresche offers a create your own perfect pizza option, allowing you to select the crust -- European thin crust or honey wheat -- and then your sauce: classic red sauce, sweet whiskey BBQ, Primavera garlic cream sauce or parmesan basil pesto sauce. Then add any and all the toppings you'd like.

Fresche Pizzeria and Pub offers a variety of wines, beers and mixed drinks, but focuses on ice cream drinks with real homemade whipped cream and vanilla ice cream as a base. Patrons can enjoy old favorite alcohol-infused dessert concoctions like a Grasshopper or a Brandy Alexander, or can try ice cream refreshments with a twist, such as a Raspberry Paradise or a Jamaican Dreadlock.

Dessert lovers will also find some unique sweet treats at Fresche, including a frutta bella dessert pizza (fruit pizza, $9.50) and a banana republic (pan fried bananas with curry and sugar over vanilla ice cream, $6.25).

Fresche Pizzeria and Pub is open Wednesday through Saturday 4 to 10 p.m. Carryout and delivery are available. Smoking allowed. Good vegetarian selections available.

Contact Fresche Pizzeria and Pub at (414) 220-4221. The Web site is freschepizza.com.