If you’ve ever been to New York, you know The Halal Guys ubiquitous gyro carts and restaurants are as part of the Manhattan’s dining scene as dollar slices and dirty water hot dogs.
The past few years, The Halal Guys have taken their famous chicken and rice platters and sandwiches on an expansion frenzy, with franchises opening in Chicago, Toronto, parts of Texas, California and elsewhere. Come sometime in 2018, the chain will be making its Michigan debut with the opening of a Detroit location.
No word yet on whether that will be inside the city limits or within the general Metro Detroit area, but a spokeswoman for Fransmart, the franchise development company assisting with The Halal Guys expansion, tells Tostada Magazine that franchisee Mufid Farha has made a deal to open five locations in Wayne and Washtenaw counties over the next five years, including sometime this year.
“The Halal Guys is an incredibly popular concept that wasn’t yet represented in Michigan so it was a no-brainer,” says franchisee Farha in a press release. “I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to bring it to the greater Detroit area, which is developing into the next dining destination. I imagine The Halal Guys’ high-quality food will be a welcome addition to the burgeoning food scene.”
Founded in 1990 by three Egyptian immigrants — Mohammed Abouelenein, Abdelbaset Elsayed and Ahmed Elsaka — The Halal Guys started off as a hot dog cart on West 53rd and 6th Avenue as an option for many of Manhattan’s Muslim cab drivers in search of a halal-friendly meal on the road. The company has gone on to become one of NYC’s most recognized eateries, with fans of all walks.
That The Halal Guys would land in Metro Detroit is no surprise. After all, a growing number of popular chains, including Shake Shack, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and most recently City Bakery have all made their way to the Motor City in recent years, drawn to the hype of the city’s burgeoning dining scene.
What will be interesting is seeing how The Halal Guys is received in a region already famous for its halal offerings. Dearborn and Hamtramck have some of the highest concentrations of Muslim-Americans in the state, with a number of traditional Middle Eastern, South Asian, African and increasingly halal-friendly American cuisine available.
Tostada will be keeping an eye on the progress of this expansion and will be sure to provide updates as they become available.
This article was made possible by the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund, a project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, that’s working to increase quality journalism and help better inform communities.
Author: Serena Maria Daniels
Serena Maria Daniels is the co-founder and head chingona of Tostada Magazine. She is an award-winning journalist based in Detroit and specializes on the intersection of food, identity, and culture.
Find her on Twitter and Instagram @serenamaria36!