Combine the breathtaking beauty of Anderson Japanese Gardens and the vast depth of skill of the Franchesco’s expert restaurateurs and you get: Fresco at the Gardens.  

Fresco at the Gardens is scheduled to open in June at Anderson Japanese Gardens, a world renowned 12-acre Japanese garden.  The new restaurant will be open seven days a week from 7am to 3pm, serving breakfast and lunch.   Fresco at the Gardens will, as suggested by its name which means “fresh” in Italian, be serving a variety of fresh, organic and locally grown foods.  The menu will feature sandwiches, salads, soups, grass-fed meat dishes, traditional breakfast fare and much more.  Guest may choose indoor seating overlooking the Gardens or outdoor patio seating on one of two decks.  There will also be a special “café” area where guests can stop in for  grab-and-go coffee or stay for a while at the coffee bar offering free Wi-Fi.

Fresco at the Gardens will provide excellent quality food and spirits at moderate prices and in an expedient fashion to make the restaurant a viable option for the business crowd  Although the restaurant won’t be open for dinner, it will be available to host corporate events and other private parties in the evenings by reservation.

The collaboration was David Anderson’s idea.  David, eldest son of Anderson Japanese Gardens founder John R. Anderson, knew there was great potential to create something special.

But we needed the right partner,” says David. “We want to be known for running a great Garden and don’t want to take our eye off that ball.  We knew we needed someone in the restaurant industry who mirrored our reputation and put an emphasis on providing the best customer experience.  That “someone” needed to have the operational know-how and hospitality mindset required to consistently deliver excellent service and excellent food.  That’s the Franchesco’s family."


Benny Salamone, owner of Franchesco’s Ristorante, has been a successful restaurant owner in the Rockford area for over twenty-five years and is looking forward to the business collaboration with Anderson Japanese Gardens.

We are thrilled to partner up with Anderson Japanese Gardens, a property so beautiful, it’s recognized nationally.  We aim to provide the Northern Illinois area with a truly one of a kind restaurant experience, but make it casual, quick and affordable enough to attract the every-day diner and business crowd,” says Salamone.   “The menu at Fresco at the Gardens will be completely new, but the quality, attention to detail and excellence service will remain consistent to what we deliver at Franchesco’s Ristorante.”


Jake Ziegler will serve as General Manager of Fresco at the Gardens, and as first order of business will be heading up the recruitment effort.  An estimated 25 new jobs will be created.

We intend to host a job fair in order to secure the most talented staff for the new restaurant.  We will be looking for hosts/hostesses, servers, kitchen staff and more.


Get more information about the restaurant by visiting

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