Who the halal are they?
On 6th Ave and W. 53rd St, New Yorkers and tourists alike are all too familiar with the Halal Guys. Food carts are a common sighting in the city, but the Halal Guys have unfailingly stood out with their famous gyros-and-rice bowls and long lines from 7 pm to 4 am. Also, don’t forget the special white sauce that has people raving “WHITE SAUCE FTW” and “addicting like crack” on Yelp. In short, business has been pretty sweet for the Halal Guys since 1992 as they serve up generous portions of Middle Eastern chicken and lamb over fluffy rice for only $6. In fact, business has been so good that the Halal Guys are amping their game up.
On the move
The Halal Guys have signed a deal with Fransmart, and looking at opening up store locations in Los Angeles, the East Coast, Canada and the Middle East—all within a year’s time. Sounds awesome, right? Five years down the line, the Halal Guys might be looking at over 100 locations total, some in Europe. Pretty soon, people on the West Coast and possibly the French will get a chance to taste some authentic Halal Guys. It helps that Fransmart is the franchise consulting firm that kicked off Five Guys’s popularity and expanded them to 1,200 units. Furthermore, the Halal Guys are currently working on opening two unfranchised restaurants independent of Fransmart in two other NYC locations. Without a doubt, Middle Eastern gyro, fast-food style, is making a bang.
Is it all good news?
Yes and no. There have been mixed reactions to the news. For a lot of people, the main appeal of the Halal Guys has always the “food cart” angle. It’s the idea that people can approach this small cart for some tasty food that gets people excited. It is a small independent business situating itself for years in the same intersection, in one of the toughest cities to live in. You tell your totally non-NYC-native friends “Lemme show you the Halal Guys; the food is so good, and get this—it’s a cart.” It’s the most urban you can get with food, and only in New York City. With the change, though, is their reputation at stake?
Of course, fans outside of NYC don’t think so. If anything, this is a blessing in disguise. To finally taste the Halal Guys without having to cough up a ticket to the Big Apple, now that’s what dreams are made of. One way or another, the Halal Guys have loyal fans spread all throughout the country who have tried their food at least once, so the future of the Halal Guys is looking good so far.