While many people today think that the American dream is dead, they obviously have never met The Halal Guys. Coming over to the US as immigrants, The Halal Guys have proved that anything is truly possible in the land of the free as they’ve turned their street food cart into a worldwide restaurant brand. For all those people who are yet to try The Halal Guys food, take a look at the Top 10 Untold Truths Of The Halal Guys. It will make you want to eat it!
10. It All Started With A Simple Hot Dog
Whenever anyone goes for a walk in New York City, you will find the streets lined with food trucks. Most types of food can be found and a lot of them at reasonable prices. Because of this, food trucks have become many people’s favorite way to get great tasting food quickly. We really are living in the golden food truck age and New York is one of the best places for it. Long before food trucks lined the streets of the big apple, three immigrants, Abdelbaset Elsayed, Ahmed Elsaka and Mohammed Abouelenein left their home country of Egypt and headed to the US in search of a better life. Once in New York City, the three guys found it hard to get jobs on par with what they had trained in back home. Mohammed Abouelenein was a trained veterinarian by the way. After a few jobs such as kitchen workers and driving a cab, they decided that food vendor was a job they could do and they picked the hot dog. We can see why; the hot dog is cheap, easy to make and screams New York City. However, not long into their hot dog business, the trio decided that the hot dog was not a hearty enough meal and they also wanted to recreate food that they knew. Thus The Halal Guys was born and their menu hasn’t changed since. Interestingly enough, in recent years the Halal Guys have actually put some hot dog vendors out of business as everyone wants some of that Halal meat and rice.
9. They Have Cab Drivers To Thank, Sort Of
When The Halal Guys decided to change from hot dogs to a Halal cart and really give the business their all, it was difficult to get the word out. Unlike today when twitter or facebook can do it in seconds. This was the early 1990s and the internet was still a pipe dream to many, or at the very least a painfully slow device that nobody had access to yet. Because of that, and the fact that they were located in one of the busiest cities in the world. Not just with people but with restaurants, food carts, and vendors as well, it possed a bit of a problem for The Halal Guys and how to get their food out into the city. One thing that helped them almost immediately was the local cab drivers. As a lot of the cab drivers were Muslim, they flocked to The Halal Guys cart as it was a great way to get quick and cheap Halal food. Once they started to make The Halal Guys their regular place to eat, the cab drivers started to spread the word and soon The Halal Guys found lines and lines of people wanting their tasty food. Now, of course, their food is eaten by everyone from all backgrounds and cultures. But cab drivers played a huge part in making them the success they are today.
8. Better Get The Combo
It’s fair to say that the streets of New York, and in fact, most cities around the world, are filled with food trucks. While restaurants and fast food joints will always be a popular choice for people to eat, the food truck has really taken the world by storm in the last few years or so. The ability to get any kind of food you want, most of which are cooked to restaurant standard or beyond and any hour of the day, has proved to be the key to success for food carts and The Halal Guys are no different. Their menu has been pretty much the same since The Halal Guys started selling their Halal foods. Even across all their carts and restaurants today, the menu is pretty faithful to its original. They offer a choice of sandwiches and platters. The sandwiches come with salad and a choice of falafel, chicken, and their famous Gyro. The falafel sandwiches are a popular choice in a lot of their restaurants but the platters are by far and away everyone’s go-to choice. The platers come with the same choice of meats and proteins, with salad and rice but for the true Halal Guys fans, there is the combo. The combo platter is everything in one glorious container. You can even add fries on top if you like. All dishes, both platers and sandwiches, come with toppings of your choice and of course their infamous sauces.
7. The Infamous Sauces
Speaking of the incredible foods, we now come to those famous sauces. Most Halal Guys location will offer you a choice of three sauces to add to your meal; white sauce, red sauce, and barbeque sauce. We’d never thought we’d say this about barbeque sauce, especially as we love to drizzle it on anything and everything, but in this context, it’s not actually that exciting. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that is up against two truly great sauces. Firstly, the white sauce. Looking like a cross between mayonnaise and tzatziki, The Halal Guys white sauce is a cooling, refreshing and creamy delight that pairs perfectly with the food. People love this sauce so much that a lot of the time they drown their food in it and end up with a white sauce soup. While it may look like regular mayonnaise or tzatziki, it isn’t. The white sauce is actually….. we don’t know what it is. The Halal Guys keep the ingredients to this sauce so secret that even Colonel Sanders and Coco-Cola are jealous of their secret-keeping. While we may not know what is in their special white sauce, we can certainly enjoy consuming it. Then we come to the sauce that has everyone talking, their incredibly hot red sauce. When we say incredibly hot, we truly mean that. While other restaurants and companies claim to have really hot sauce, more often than not it’s a little disappointing. However, the hot sauce at The Halal Guys is a real mouth burner. To put it into technical terms; The Halal Guys hot sauce has a Scoville rating of 100,000 – 130,000. Considering that a score of over 80,000 is considered ‘very highly pungent,’ this sauce is seriously hot. It is, in fact, twice as hot as Tabasco and cayenne chili and hotter than Thai chili. Too much of this sauce will have your eyes watering.
6. Taking Over The World
While The Halal Guys still have their roots and food firmly in the street food market, they have now exploded in the fast-casual scene and are opening up restaurants all over the world. Starting out with opening extra carts around the city of New Yor, The Halal Guys actually waited quite a while before they began franchising their company or building actually restaurants. But that day came when they met the restaurant franchising company Fransmart, who were actually responsible for the franchising of much loved fast-food chains Five Guys and Qdoba Mexican Grill. Once The Halal Guys hired Fransmart, their brand and food were ready to compete in the big leagues. Fransmart founder was actually a huge fan of the food cart market and wanted to take that further, so after a year-long negotiation, the deal was done. Within the first year of their franchise plan, The Halal Guys opened up restaurants across the country; California, Washington, New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, and Illinois were first to get their hands on The Halal Guys franchise. Since then they have rolled out more restaurants across the country and are now venturing into the international market in places such as Canada, the Philipines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the UK. There are plenty more restaurants planned in The Halal Guys world domination plan and we can’t wait to see this tasty food on a street near us very soon.
5. They Never Want To Close
When a new company starts out, it can be difficult to make money. Not only are there plenty of outgoing costs; ingredients, premises, and staff, to name a few, but then there is the difficult task of getting people to eat your food and having them coming back again and again. Hopefully bringing more people with them each time. Until the time comes in which you have plenty of profit coming in, one way to save money is to have a small workforce that will work no matter what. This is something that the original The Halal Guys food truck did and they continue to have that mentality to this day. The original truck very rarely closes. In fact, since it first opened in the early 1990s, The Halal Guys food truck has only been closed for 20 days. And that was all due to the roads being closed in so they didn’t have a choice. No matter what the weather or conditions, The Halal Guys food truck will always be open. The even braved Hurrican Sandy and opened up the truck, once they were allowed to do so of course. As well as facing some server winds and rain. The Halal Guys actually gave free food to all emergency workers and first responders. Now, that is commitment.
4. It’s Hard Work
On our list of untold truths about The Halal Guys, we have mentioned a lot about their food and how the world is falling in love with it. Now we come to the actual work that is involved. While working at any fast food restaurant is hard work, working on the food carts is a whole different story. There is a lot that goes into that famous combo platter, and a lot of that work has happened when we are all tucked up in bed. The Halal Guys carts open at 10 am and don’t close till 4 am on weekdays and 5;30 am on the weekends. Already that’s a long day! During the working hours, there is a constant stream of people that want to get their hands on this tasty food, which doesn’t leave a lot of downtime for the staff. But before all that even happens all the food needs to be chopped and prepared as well as all carts and equipment must be washed and cleaned, that’s before their working day has actually started. Then they come to the end of their day, at 5;30 in the morning, and are ready to crawl into bed but not yet. Once they close the carts the workers then have to take them back to headquarters, empty and clean them so they are ready to be used again in a few hours. Also, because of the nature and size of the carts, the team of workers is relatively small, which in itself creates a lot of work. While we all love the food at The Halal Guys, we don’t envy their workload.
3. They Created A New Food Genre
Ok, so we are not saying that the food that The Halal Guys serve is a new food, far from it. But it is fair to say that the popularity of their Halal food in street food form has certainly paved the way for others of its type to follow. We also know that street food is not new to New York City either nor did The Halal Guys invent it but combining the two; fast, cheap and tasty Halal food that you can get any time of night and day, that certainly wasn’t a thing in New York when The Halal Guys started. Or, if it was it was very limited. American Halal Street Food is what people are referring to this kind of cuisine and that looks set to catch on even further. Due to the success of the original Halal Guys cart, many other food carts of similar types are popping up all of the city, and the country too. This new wave of Halal food is certainly finding its feet in the western world and it’s also opening a lot of people’s eyes, and tastebuds, to new and exciting foods. While this is a truly great thing in the world of food, we think that The Halal Guys have a lot to do with its popularity and mainstream appeal, and for that we thank them.
2. National Gyro Day
That’s right. The food that The Halal Guys have become famous for has its very own day. Gyro, which comes from the Greek word ‘gheereezo’ which means to turn, is an ancient Greek way of cooking meat. The meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie which then turns slowly while cooking. The meat is then carved off in paper-thin slices and then finished off on a griddle.Traditional pork, beef, and lamb are cooked this way, while nowadays it is common to also cook chicken and even fish on the vertical rotisserie.The Gyro has become the benchmark and poster boy for great Greek fast food, and while this style of food has been around for generations, much of the world is just starting to wake up to this delicious meat. To celebrate this style of cooking meat there is now a Gyro Day in which all restaurants that serve Gyro celebrate its glory with special promotions and prizes. The Halal Guys are no exception and they go all out to celebrate Gyro with a multitude of offers and specials throughout all their restaurants. If you are looking to join in the fun and celebrate Gyro Day then the date you need to put in your diary is September 1st.
1. New York New York
While The Halal Guys look set to expand and take over the world, there is no denying that New York City will always be their home. 53rd Street and 6th avenue, the home of the original Halal Guys street cart, has almost become a landmark and tourist attraction. People line up for hours just to get a taste of the birthplace of this food, we can’t think of any other food truck or in fact fast food restaurant that has the same appeal. Not only did New York City give the founders a home and a shot at the American dream, but New York is where The Halal Guys actually started to build their budding empire. Once their original cart had become successful, they opened up several new carts and two restaurants in the city, which they still have and are in fact the only restaurants owned completely by the company. Their headquarters is also in New York and so is their heart. While The Halal Guys look to conquer everything, they will always be linked with the city that never sleeps. The fact that they started their company in New York City may have also added to their appeal around the world as a lot of trends, including food trends, travel well from New York. ‘If they can make it work in New York, they can make it work anywhere.’ That may not be the exact saying but all things ‘New York’ do travel well as it’s the city that most people love, even if they’ve never been there.