“We are so excited about bringing New York’s famous Halal Guys to the city of New Orleans and look forward to expanding this brand across our great state of Louisiana.”
For someone used to walking the streets of New York City, hot dog stands and stands that sell halal food—like chicken or lamb over rice, gyros, and shish kebabs are a commonality. The majority of them are unbranded and owned by a behind-the-scenes conglomerate of these stands that lease them out to the operators.
The Halal Guys, however, have a bit of a different story. Three business partners started their own hot dog stand in the middle of New York City on 57th Street and 6th Avenue, just above Times Square, which is arguably the area with the most tourist traffic in the city. In 1990, the three opened up their hot dog stand, not expecting it to do much better than the average hot dog stand. How could they? There are multiple stands just like it on every city block in that area.
But business started to look up in the following years, due in part to their prime location in the busiest area in Manhattan, but also due simply to the quality of their hot dogs. As they began to generate more and more customers and revenue, they decided it would be a good idea to expand their market to include halal food, a staple in the cuisine of Muslim cab drivers. Times Square is full of cab drivers, many of whom happen to be Muslim, and who are often looking for a halal meal, so catering to them opened up a whole new customer base for The Halal Guys.
25 years later, The Halal Guys now have five carts throughout New York City as well as two actual restaurants. Halal food stands have become a fundamental, popular part of New York City street cuisine in the past 10 years or so, but The Halal Guys ignited the spark that began the influx of halal stands in New York.
Their restaurants and stands, especially their original stand which has become an icon of New York street cuisine, now boast huge lines of customers often spanning several blocks. People wait for two to three hours just to get a taste of their famous chicken, gyro or falafel, which is served either over rice with pita, or wrapped up in a delicious pita sandwich and topped off with their renowned white and hot sauces. Other halal food stands have never been able to gain the same kind of respect and recognition that The Halal Guys have fostered over the years, as they’ve perfected the art.
Although Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible” and the food is essentially meant for Muslims who practice Islam, the majority of the customers are not actually Muslim. The food is completely delicious regardless of one’s religion, making their customer base extremely diverse. Because of their paramount success and their position at the top of the halal food chain, The Halal Guys are now going global. They are broadening their horizons and branching out from New York City.
They are now opening restaurants in cities across America, including New Orleans, right on St. Charles Avenue. It will add a very new and exciting kind of cuisine to a city that already has a very diverse background in regards to food. Logan Trotter, one of their partners, was quoted as saying, “We are so excited about bringing New York’s famous Halal Guys to the city of New Orleans and look forward to expanding this brand across our great state of Louisiana.” Their New Orleans location is located at 301 St. Charles Ave, and they can be found online at thehalalguys.com, as well as on Facebook and Instagram under the tag @thehalalguysNOLA.