The Halal Guys, a New York City staple, is a restaurant franchise that serves food prepared in accordance to the Islamic dietary guideline, and is coming to the Binghamton area this month. This fast-casual restaurant started as a halal food truck in midtown Manhattan and has since been turned into a franchise with branches throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The business was started in 1990 by Egyptian immigrants and founding partners Mohammed Abouelenein, Abdelbaset Elsayed and Ahmed Elsaka. By Nov. 10, a branch will be open in University Plaza in Vestal. Melvin Quintanilla, a director of operations at The Halal Guys, said the franchise started as a way to provide accessible food that fits halal dietary guidelines and has grown in the previous years.
“Everyone knows halal food, food carts that sell halal food,” Quintanilla said. “The majority of people that know about us know us from the carts out in Manhattan.”
The Halal Guys has gained fame throughout the years and has since expanded. The brand’s fame in the city brought it great success near university campuses such as the University at Buffalo.
“Our first location was in Amherst, NY, which is right outside of University at Buffalo, and it’s a huge hit, especially with the students who are from New York City,” Quintanilla said, “[And] students really love the price point.”
The prices, as well as the general renown it has gained, make it a favorite among young people. Since it’s coming to University Plaza, only a couple of minutes from campus, it is expected to gain a lot of new customers. Ranyerlyn Garcia, a senior majoring in mathematics, shared her experience with their food in New York City.
“It’s what New York City halal carts sell, but, in my opinion, made with more love, and you can taste the difference,” Garcia said. “The students here will love it — [they] might just forget Chick-N-Bap’s name. Just might.”
If you’ve never tried halal food, this is an opportunity to do so. Ashliana Pannullo, an undeclared freshman, said she will try halal food for the first time at The Halal Guys.
“I’ve never had halal food before, but it’ll be cool to try it,” Pannullo said. “Since coming to Binghamton, I’ve been able to try new foods from different cultures. Food trucks from [New York City] are mostly hot dogs, peanuts and American stuff. They sometimes have Greek [food], like gyros — I’ve never seen [The] Halal Guys before.”
This new addition gives more options for affordable food near campus, and it’s always nice to try something new.
The Halal Guys menu includes classic halal foods like your choice of chicken, beef or falafel over rice served with tomatoes, lettuce and pita on the side or wrapped in a pita as a sandwich. Their sides include baba ghanoush, a hummus-like spread made with eggplant, and hummus, as well as desserts like baklava and cookies.
Halal Guys will have a soft opening the week of Nov. 10, where it will be using third-party delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats alongside The Halal Guys’ own app for customers to order takeout or delivery. During the week of Nov. 16, its 30-year anniversary week, anyone who orders through the app can get a free cup of hummus. On Nov. 18, the day of the anniversary, the prices are going to be rolled back to the original 1990 prices, which is $5 a platter. Finally, the grand opening of the restaurant is Dec. 1, so look out if you’re still in town.
If you’re ever looking for something new to try, or an old favorite, keep your eye out for this new addition to University Plaza.