Grampa Frank and Uncle Sonny opened Midway Tavern in 1949 on the corner of 34th Street and 36th Avenue in Astoria. It closed at 4 a.m. and reopened at 8 a.m., with a line of regulars waiting for a drink after the night shift.
On cold winter evenings they’d say, “Hey, Frank, whaddaya got?” (free Thanksgiving turkey dinners, corned beef and cabbage on St. Paddy’s). But it was the cheap chili and beer that really stuck to the ribs.
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
½-1 lb. chopped meat (“whatever’s around”)
1 can tomato paste
2-3 cans kidney beans
Red Devil hot sauce
1. Brown meat and onions in a large pot.
2. Once onions are translucent, add tomato paste and two cans of water. Let everything settle.
3. Add kidney beans, chili powder, a few splashes of hot sauce.
4. Cook on low heat all day and serve in a bowl with rice, a beer, and a shot of whiskey (which, Gramps laments, used to cost 15 cents a nip).