There are few places left in Times Square to enjoy authentic, tasty, inexpensive food. Margon Restaurant is one of them--and it's been serving up Cuban comfort on W. 46th Street since the 1960s.
This weekend I enjoyed a plate of beef stew with beans and rice and talked with Getty Rivas who told me about how his father came from the Dominican Republic and first worked in the restaurant as a dishwasher. In 1987, after Margon had moved into its current spot, a former go-go bar, Mr. Rivas took over. The place continues to be managed and staffed completely by the Rivas family--"aunts, uncles, cousins..."--17 family members in total. They have since added their own Dominican flavors to the Cuban dishes.
The place is narrow and cafeteria style. You order your food from the counter and take a seat. Salsa plays over the radio. People chat and sometimes dance while they wait for their plates of octopus salad, plantains, roasted chicken so tender it falls off the bone. Taxi drivers and tour bus drivers come for lunch. It just feels like New York City here.