Fry Street’s most convenient venue

Fry Street’s most convenient venue

Fry Street’s most convenient venue
April 04
22:43 2018

A man exits a Fry Street bar on a mission in search of cigarettes and a late-night snack. He walks a block down West Hickory Street and finds himself at the small corner store known as Midway Craft House.

He purchases his cigarettes and Doritos with the intention of returning to Fry, but his trip is prolonged by the live music, craft brews and atmosphere of the quaint little convenience store. His plans change. His journey becomes his destination.

“It’s such a funny setup, to come to a convenience store and watch a band play,” said Makayla Price, a high school English teacher. “But it’s kind of the perfect cute meet-up place, I would say.”

Midway Craft House recently celebrated its two-year anniversary with a two-day event featuring music from bands like Honest Shaun and a selection of free giveaways.

While often considered a convenience store, the business offers much more than just soda and Pop-Tarts. The venue is known for its live music, large selection of craft brews and growler bar. The venue’s unique appeal has not gone unnoticed by the Denton community either, as it was voted “best nontraditional venue” by the Denton Art and Music Awards for two years running.

“A lot of work goes into managing the store and booking events,” said Rahim Dewji, manager of Midway Craft House. “We have four businesses in one location: a craft beer store, convenience store, growler bar and event venue. Each type of business has its own set of laws to abide by and follow. The Midway Craft House is the most unique business in town. We have something for everyone.”

Not only is Midway Craft House unique to Denton, the store is also unique to Fry Street.

Though the venue is at the corner of West Hickory and Welch Street, it belongs to one of many businesses adjacent to Fry Street. For some time now, Midway Craft House has been the only establishment on Fry Street that hosts live music or comedy on a regular basis. Dewji is working to change that.

“The reason I started having live shows was because when I was hanging on Fry during my college days. There were a lot of places to see live music,” Dewji said. “These days, Midway Craft House is the only place that regularly has live shows. My dream is for live music to be back on Fry.”

Members of Afro Deezy Axe smile after a performance at the Midway Craft House Two Year Anniversary Party on Friday. The unique convenience store hosted a two-day celebration with special beer tappings, merch giveaways, live music and more. Paige Bruneman

As Midway Craft House has continued its emphasis on live performances, Dewji has also noticed the unique venue’s influence making its way down the street to nearby businesses.

“Tom’s Daiquiri now has live music each week on certain days, and Rip Rocks has started having live bands again, [so] hopefully soon more people will open up their businesses to live shows.” Dewji said. “Music is the lifeblood of this city — it’s been that way for decades.”

Dewji seems to be in good company though, as he’s not the only person who welcomes live music on Fry Street.

“I usually come here to listen to the new up-and-coming bands,” accountant Brian Sikich, 52, said. “It’s a good place for them to come here and have a little start up. Plus, they have a wide selection of beers. It’s awesome.”

While the Square is known for its abundance of live music, comedy and improv shows, Fry Street is known as a different environment full of outward energy. Midway Craft House is considered a marriage of the two demographics.

“I think it’s like a beautiful kind of mixture of the Square and Fry Street,” Price said. “You get [both] the young and the slightly mature kind of coming in, so you get a nice mix of people.”

The musicians who perform at Midway Craft House feel the difference too, welcoming its introduction to Fry Street.

“It’s not like the bar scene on Fry Street — that’s kind of difficult to deal with,” said James Angry, lead vocalist of the band Honest Shaun. “It’s not quite like the Square either, but an in-between. I mean, literally, it is in-between Fry Street and the Square.”

Honest Shaun has been playing at Midway Craft House since the very beginning. The band has been playing for two and a half years and Midway Craft House has been open for two years, so the band credits the establishment for helping them and other new bands get off the ground.

“I believe that Midway Craft House gives the chance for other bands to shine here,” Angry said. “It may be a little smaller than other venues around Denton, but I always love that Rahim gives other bands chances here. It’s a good starting ground for everyone.”

The venue also provides one of the most unique environments for up-and-coming bands, as performing in a convenience store provides a one-of-a-kind experience.

“Where else are you going to be able to play in between condoms and Hot Pockets?” Patrick Peterson said. “We had somebody come by during the last show to get some. That was funny and awkward. To have a good time, you have to get by us.”

While music is definitely an important feature of Midway Craft House, concerts are not the only thing on the lineup. They host trivia on Tuesdays, open mic on Wednesdays, live music every Friday and Saturday, a classical guitar show twice a month, as well as the Convenient Comedy Show twice a month on Wednesdays before open mic. The business has also been working toward creating more events specifically for female artists, including a ladies’ singer-songwriter night each month and a regular ladies’ stand-up comic night.

Overall, Midway Craft House has found its niche on the corner of the street and seeks to grow and cooperate with other popular venues in the Fry Street community.

“We are part of the Fry Street family,” Dewji said. “We support each other and the community of Denton. There are different events we each do that give back to the people. We know without the community, we wouldn’t be here, and we are very grateful to the people of Denton.”

Featured Image: Members of Afro Deezy Axe smile after a performance at the Midway Craft House Two Year Anniversary Party on Friday. The unique convenience store hosted a two-day celebration with special beer tappings, merch giveaways, live music and more. Paige Bruneman

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Slade Meadows

Slade Meadows

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