Since 1989, the nonprofit Fenton Area Resource & Referral (FARR) has worked closely with local government, churches, school districts, service clubs, the Chamber of Commerce and other groups to coordinate essential human services and assistance for area residents in need. In early 2014, FARR announced it was relocating its Mill Street office and closing an adjoining thrift store after almost 20 years in operation at the same location. The FARR Board asked if we might be interested in purchasing their building located near the Fenton post office.
We gave it some thought but decided it wasn’t the right time for a new project. After trying to interest other parties in the site, FARR approached us once again and asked that we reconsider, which we did. The initial plan was to renovate the concrete block building and lease the space. But the idea of a neighborhood speakeasy was tossed about, and 113 ½ Mill Street was repurposed as The Relief & Resource Co. with the name intended as a respectful nod to the nonprofit that occupied the building for so long.
Jon Foley, long-time Head Barman at The Laundry, got involved and drew on speakeasy tradition by assembling an exceptional selection of craft and original cocktails, plus a well-curated collection of spirits and wine. The Laundry’s Executive Chef Jody Brunori developed an elegant menu featuring a rotating charcuterie board and beautifully constructed plates meant for sharing.
In keeping with a speakeasy-era interest in avoiding detection, The Relief & Resource Co. is accessible only via El Topo, its cover business located at 113 Mill Street. Beyond that, we have ‘no comment’.
Please note we do not take reservations; seating is first come, first served. If there happens to be a wait upon your arrival, our door team will take your name and number and contact you when seats become available.
——— OUR COVER ———
Historically, a speakeasy would have had a cover business, some innocuous front intended to disguise illicit alcohol sales during the Prohibition era of 1920 to 1933. We decided on El Topo, a Latin American street food joint with a fresh and creative menu developed by The Laundry’s Chef Jody Brunori. Translating as ‘the mole’ or ‘spy’ in Spanish, El Topo seemed an appropriate cover for a secret speakeasy. To learn more, visit eltopofenton.com.