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Halal Guys - Who has gone and what did you think?

Halal Guys - Who has gone and what did you think?
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  • Post #31 - September 14th, 2015, 9:02 am
    Post #31 - September 14th, 2015, 9:02 am Post #31 - September 14th, 2015, 9:02 am
    Cyriaco wrote:There are many, many better options for fast service kebabs/felafel. For just one example, I really like Mr. Falafel on California just north of Devon. It is a tiny Iraqi kebab house, and the sandwiches are very good. The gus on samoon, with amba, is just like you find around Detroit. Everything there is homemade... except the kubbat Mosul, which is frozen.


    Anything a bit closer to the center of the city? I think location is a big part of the Halal Guys rush right now. I have heard good things about Sultan's Market and Falafel and Grille on Clark, but I have not been to either.
  • Post #32 - September 14th, 2015, 12:02 pm
    Post #32 - September 14th, 2015, 12:02 pm Post #32 - September 14th, 2015, 12:02 pm
    With dozens of Israeli, Palestinian, and several more vaguely "Middle Eastern" and "Mediterranean" places in and around the Loop making anything from good to serviceable versions of, essentially, the same stuff, Halal Guys' instant success is a powerful testament to dumb. If one can't make it to Bridgeview, Albany Park, Rogers Park, or points northwest of there for Levantine/Arab cooking (and Persians, Iraqis, Assyrians and Central Asians making Levantine/Arab stuff), consider the one-off, family run places such as Oasis on Wabash or Taza on Franklin, both in the Loop. Then there are the several local chains, with Benjyehuda and Jaffa being pretty good.

    I chalk up Halal Guys' popularity to that time everyone in line visited NY for work/a wedding/a show/school and stood in line for street meat on the most uninteresting block in Manhattan.
  • Post #33 - September 14th, 2015, 1:22 pm
    Post #33 - September 14th, 2015, 1:22 pm Post #33 - September 14th, 2015, 1:22 pm
    botd wrote:
    Cyriaco wrote:There are many, many better options for fast service kebabs/felafel. For just one example, I really like Mr. Falafel on California just north of Devon. It is a tiny Iraqi kebab house, and the sandwiches are very good. The gus on samoon, with amba, is just like you find around Detroit. Everything there is homemade... except the kubbat Mosul, which is frozen.


    Anything a bit closer to the center of the city? I think location is a big part of the Halal Guys rush right now. I have heard good things about Sultan's Market and Falafel and Grille on Clark, but I have not been to either.


    There are loads of middle eastern/Mediterranean places in the city that are far better than Halal Guys. There are actually OK fast options in the Loop like Taza, Oasis Cafe, and Benjyehuda (billed as Israeli - whatever you think, this place is really good with a box full of everything). Naf Naf Grill too. Outside of downtown there's a fair amount too. Much better than Halal Guys will ever be and yeah, it's not toum that they serve. It's mayonaise with some vinegar in it. Halal Guys is like dumbed down middle eastern food for people who either don't know any better. The guys who own it mean well but damn I wish they could deviate from the norm and just make it better.

    After having been in NYC for over 13 months now (I split my time between Chicago and NYC), I have barely had any good middle eastern food. The only good stuff I've had was in Astoria. I'd say it's a 50% success rate (outside of Turkish food) in Manhattan as far as Middle Eastern goes. I've had the worst Lebanese food of my life there and some decent Lebanese food elsewhere. Some great Turkish food though.
    2019 Chicago Food Business License Issuances Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfUU ... sp=sharing
  • Post #34 - September 14th, 2015, 4:24 pm
    Post #34 - September 14th, 2015, 4:24 pm Post #34 - September 14th, 2015, 4:24 pm
    JeffB wrote:
    I chalk up Halal Guys' popularity to that time everyone in line visited NY for work/a wedding/a show/school and stood in line for street meat on the most uninteresting block in Manhattan.


    OH really?

    307 E. 14th St
    53rd & 7th Avenue
    53rd & 6th Avenue SE corner
    53rd & 6th Ave. SW corner
    722 Amsterdam Avenue
    LaGuardia Community College

    And you're gonna try & pass this one off on those dumb rube outoftowners?
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #35 - September 15th, 2015, 9:04 am
    Post #35 - September 15th, 2015, 9:04 am Post #35 - September 15th, 2015, 9:04 am
    Roger Ramjet wrote:
    JeffB wrote:
    I chalk up Halal Guys' popularity to that time everyone in line visited NY for work/a wedding/a show/school and stood in line for street meat on the most uninteresting block in Manhattan.


    OH really?

    307 E. 14th St
    53rd & 7th Avenue
    53rd & 6th Avenue SE corner
    53rd & 6th Ave. SW corner
    722 Amsterdam Avenue
    LaGuardia Community College

    And you're gonna try & pass this one off on those dumb rube outoftowners?


    A lot of locals eat it too, mainly office workers in the area, and a lot of tourists eat it too - but I find that a lot of people in Manhattan don't really know good middle eastern food from my experience. I once found this Lebanese fast casual concept that had a 4 star average on Yelp after 200 or 300+ reviews. Worst Lebanese food I've ever had - I've had better stuff in the middle of Iowa, no joke.

    Astoria has pretty good Middle Eastern food, but Manhattan? Outside of the Turkish food, which is actually quite good, it's been very hit and miss.
    2019 Chicago Food Business License Issuances Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfUU ... sp=sharing
  • Post #36 - September 15th, 2015, 9:38 am
    Post #36 - September 15th, 2015, 9:38 am Post #36 - September 15th, 2015, 9:38 am
    There is some level of irony that the board that romanticizes over something like the Jim Shoe, has so much vitriol hate towards something because it's not "authentic". This is an authentically american food. Halal Guys is what it is, and for me it's a guilty pleasure that is the sum of it's parts. Who gives a fuck if the sauce is mayo. Mayo is the shit.
  • Post #37 - September 15th, 2015, 9:44 am
    Post #37 - September 15th, 2015, 9:44 am Post #37 - September 15th, 2015, 9:44 am
    dagrassroots wrote:There is some level of irony that the board that romanticizes over something like the Jim Shoe, has so much vitriol hate towards something because it's not "authentic". This is an authentically american food. Halal Guys is what it is, and for me it's a guilty pleasure that is the sum of it's parts. Who gives a fuck if the sauce is mayo. Mayo is the shit.

    Image

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #38 - September 15th, 2015, 10:43 am
    Post #38 - September 15th, 2015, 10:43 am Post #38 - September 15th, 2015, 10:43 am
    dagrassroots wrote:There is some level of irony that the board that romanticizes over something like the Jim Shoe, has so much vitriol hate towards something because it's not "authentic". This is an authentically american food. Halal Guys is what it is, and for me it's a guilty pleasure that is the sum of it's parts. Who gives a fuck if the sauce is mayo. Mayo is the shit.

    This may seem crazy, but "the board" is actually made up of individual posters, not all of whom agree about everything. Some people eat Jim Shoes, some eat tasting menus, and others do some combination of the two. No poster should be forced to act as a representative for some imagined collective opinion of this forum.

    Jeff, it's not just New York. Center City Phila is now awash in carts labeled "Halal" in huge letters, many right next to each other, all selling some approximation of the standard platter, as well as their particular refinements (chicken biryani seems popular). Lines around lunchtime.

    marothisu wrote:I find that a lot of people in Manhattan don't really know good middle eastern food from my experience. I once found this Lebanese fast casual concept that had a 4 star average on Yelp after 200 or 300+ reviews. Worst Lebanese food I've ever had - I've had better stuff in the middle of Iowa, no joke.

    Yeah, well, try the same trick with any of the new, expensive, uniformly terrible taco places that have been proliferating Manhattan for the past few years. <shudder>
  • Post #39 - September 15th, 2015, 10:45 am
    Post #39 - September 15th, 2015, 10:45 am Post #39 - September 15th, 2015, 10:45 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Image

    Halal cart is delicious, pause, not.
  • Post #40 - September 15th, 2015, 10:50 am
    Post #40 - September 15th, 2015, 10:50 am Post #40 - September 15th, 2015, 10:50 am
    cilantro wrote: No poster should be forced to act as a representative for some imagined collective opinion of this forum.


    I have too much power not to do this.
  • Post #41 - September 15th, 2015, 11:58 am
    Post #41 - September 15th, 2015, 11:58 am Post #41 - September 15th, 2015, 11:58 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    dagrassroots wrote:There is some level of irony that the board that romanticizes over something like the Jim Shoe, has so much vitriol hate towards something because it's not "authentic". This is an authentically american food. Halal Guys is what it is, and for me it's a guilty pleasure that is the sum of it's parts. Who gives a fuck if the sauce is mayo. Mayo is the shit.

    Image

    =R=



    I'm finding "bland" "dry" "thoroughly mediocre" "shit chopped gyro meat and not even from a decent brand".

    I'm not finding ""it's not authentic".

    How ironic ...
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #42 - September 15th, 2015, 1:01 pm
    Post #42 - September 15th, 2015, 1:01 pm Post #42 - September 15th, 2015, 1:01 pm
    Come on. Of course it's authentic. It's NYC yellow cart halal street meat. And Halal Guys will always be associated with the cart by the Hilton at 53rd and "Avenue of the Americas"/6th. Like Al's will be associated with Taylor Street. And no one said not to eat it or that eating gross, drunk food when you're not drunk is a bad thing. Guilty as charged over here. I just made my annual pilgrimage to the Allegan Co. Fair in Michigan and enjoyed moderately decent corn dogs and steak in a cup. And 90% of the fun is standing in the line, I'm sure. Like Garrett's Popcorn at Navy Pier (but of course, the Garrett's near Penn Station/MSG is THE BEST).

    In my opinion, the Halal Guys' food sucks compared to other nearby options and compared to other "Middle Eastern" fast food, both here and in NY. The fact that a million branches, spinoffs, imitators, and clones now exist and that one or two of them sport long lines does not make it any better. I'm partial to the egg on a roll from the truck in front of the Seagrams building myself. Nothing special, no line, does the job. (Under no circumstance should anyone buy a knish from any of these places.)

    The Jim Shoe is superficially an apt comparison. Cheap junk sold from modest businesses that typically sport a yellow color scheme and are sometimes "halal." But the Jim Shoe is a food item, not a business. I don't think "the Board" has a problem with gyros and rice with utility mayo and bulk sambal oelek. In fact, "The Board" is apt to do things like voraciously survey hundreds of cheap gyros and rice with mayo spots to find out who's making the best and what variations are to be had. I haven't participated in the egg roll or Jim Shoe quests myself, but I've enjoyed watching them, as I would an exhaustive survey of halal carts in NY. That's completely beside the point that I did not, personally, enjoy the street meat lunches I've tried from origianl Halal Guys because I found the food to be awful. Portion size was great, however.
  • Post #43 - September 15th, 2015, 1:49 pm
    Post #43 - September 15th, 2015, 1:49 pm Post #43 - September 15th, 2015, 1:49 pm
    You know what good junk drunk food in NYC is? It's not Halal Cart, sorry, as much as I do like the idea of supporting my Arab brothers in their selling of crap to New Yorkers. Good junk drunk food is the bodega Philly Steak or Chicken sandwich. Chopped meat fried hard on a grill on a toasted hero with cheese of your choice, shredded lettuce, grilled onion, and a little mayo and hot sauce. My PR and DR and Yemeni bodega owner brothers in NY got that on lock, and I sincerely miss it. Also, what JeffB said: egg cart sandwiches can be downright righteously tasty, especially with some American cheese and grilled turkey bacon (grilled bologna or salami when ordered from a bodega). Anyways, peace to all who enjoy the Halal Guys. Egypt seriously needs that repatriated money right now and those guys work their asses off to support their families back home. Enjoy the mayo.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #44 - September 22nd, 2015, 12:29 pm
    Post #44 - September 22nd, 2015, 12:29 pm Post #44 - September 22nd, 2015, 12:29 pm
    I just tried Halal Guys on Division today @ around 11:30AM. There was a small line of about 10 people but that moved quickly. I tried the mix of chicken and gyros large plate with both the white and hot sauce on it. I can tell you 100% I will not be back as the hype of this place doesn't output the food taste or quality. The meats both beef and chicken have literally no taste without the sauce on top if. The white sauce taste like some Frankenstein salad dressing with a hint of garlic and ranch flavors. The hot sauce while hot is 1 note and nothing else comes though besides heat. If I would compare this chicken and gyros plate would be something that is served at Taco Bell or a KFC bowl; both of which are forgettable.

    I wanted to try Halal Guys to see what the hype was about and after trying it I will never be back. There are so many real middle eastern fast food places that serve much tastier high quality food. I rather have tahini and mixed combination from Pita Inn than Ranch Garlic dressing on flavorless meat from Halal Guys any day.

    Not sure if this place will be successful in 6 months from now when the NY hype wears off but I don't see any redeeming quality of Halal Guys food compared to the 100s of alternatives Chicago and its suburbs has to offer.
    Last edited by polster on September 22nd, 2015, 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #45 - September 22nd, 2015, 1:10 pm
    Post #45 - September 22nd, 2015, 1:10 pm Post #45 - September 22nd, 2015, 1:10 pm
    polster wrote:I just tried Halal Guys on Division today @ around 11:30AM. There was a small line of about 10 people but that moved quickly. I tried the mix of chicken and gyros large plate with both the white and hot sauce on it. I can tell you 100% I will not be back as the hype of this place doesn't output the food taste or quality.



    Next time just go across the street to Five Faces & get yourself a falafel burrito.

    Oh yeah!
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #46 - September 29th, 2015, 5:14 pm
    Post #46 - September 29th, 2015, 5:14 pm Post #46 - September 29th, 2015, 5:14 pm
    Habibi wrote:Just wanted to add: the entire concept is garbage but New Yorkers love garbage (see dollar pizza slices and dog turd hot dogs). I hope Chicagoans know better.

    Lolz, so you weren't there on opening day?

    I just don't understand why this franchisee would open up in Chicago, the motherland of the gyro cone.

    So sad it's literally down the block from 2 different gyro joints as well. (I understand they are about the biriyani, but whatever). Should I not stop by even tho I'm walking distance right now?
  • Post #47 - September 29th, 2015, 5:52 pm
    Post #47 - September 29th, 2015, 5:52 pm Post #47 - September 29th, 2015, 5:52 pm
    TonyC wrote:Should I not stop by even tho I'm walking distance right now?

    Oh, I definitely think you should try it. Because I want to read the review.
  • Post #48 - October 3rd, 2015, 9:06 am
    Post #48 - October 3rd, 2015, 9:06 am Post #48 - October 3rd, 2015, 9:06 am
    I tried it during opening week and I didn't think it was that great. I didn't find it to be any better than Roti on a good day... It was tasty, particularly the hummus, but just not as good as the hype would have you believe.
  • Post #49 - March 11th, 2016, 8:39 am
    Post #49 - March 11th, 2016, 8:39 am Post #49 - March 11th, 2016, 8:39 am
    Halal Guys Announces 2nd Chicago Location For The Loop

    http://chicago.eater.com/2016/3/10/1119 ... p-location
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #50 - March 11th, 2016, 11:50 am
    Post #50 - March 11th, 2016, 11:50 am Post #50 - March 11th, 2016, 11:50 am
    Jeff, it's not just New York. Center City Phila is now awash in carts labeled "Halal" in huge letters, many right next to each other, all selling some approximation of the standard platter, as well as their particular refinements (chicken biryani seems popular). Lines around lunchtime.


    I know off-topic and wish I had the restraint not to mention this, but there is one cart in Center City Philadelphia that if anyone is visiting is a must. I think it's called Octopus cart online, but it doesn't have any signage. It's at 20th and market and has a charcoal grill in the cart that blooms smoke out the top. There is no menu. He makes whatever he feels like making that day, but it is a wonderful example of a real chef manning a cart. Many memories of getting his food and walking down to Rittenhouse Sq park to enjoy it.
  • Post #51 - March 12th, 2016, 12:52 am
    Post #51 - March 12th, 2016, 12:52 am Post #51 - March 12th, 2016, 12:52 am
    whocanitbenow wrote: I know off-topic and wish I had the restraint not to mention this, but there is one cart in Center City Philadelphia that if anyone is visiting is a must. I think it's called Octopus cart online, but it doesn't have any signage. It's at 20th and market and has a charcoal grill in the cart that blooms smoke out the top. There is no menu. He makes whatever he feels like making that day, but it is a wonderful example of a real chef manning a cart. Many memories of getting his food and walking down to Rittenhouse Sq park to enjoy it.
    I don't care if it is off-topic. I'm heading to Philadelphia in May to cover the 2016 Craft Brewers Conference. This was valuable information. For which I thank you.
    The links you can use, without the fluff, or sales pitch: http://208.84.112.25/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html
  • Post #52 - March 12th, 2016, 2:42 pm
    Post #52 - March 12th, 2016, 2:42 pm Post #52 - March 12th, 2016, 2:42 pm
    Feel free to PM me if you want any tips, though, it's been a few years since I lived in Philly. A guy named Konstantinos runs a place called Kanella which puts out some interesting Cypriot cuisine. Good eating town, but you do have to look more than a dart throw.
  • Post #53 - March 12th, 2016, 3:22 pm
    Post #53 - March 12th, 2016, 3:22 pm Post #53 - March 12th, 2016, 3:22 pm
    whocanitbenow wrote:Feel free to PM me if you want any tips, though, it's been a few years since I lived in Philly . . .

    Better yet, post any Philadelphia-related inquiries here:

    Going to Philly [Philadelphia, PA ]

    so they'll be here for others to reference in the future.

    Thanks,

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #54 - March 23rd, 2016, 10:41 am
    Post #54 - March 23rd, 2016, 10:41 am Post #54 - March 23rd, 2016, 10:41 am
    botd wrote:I live nearby and hope to try it out this week. For those not wanting to wait in line that long, here is an excellent recipe http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/12/serious-eats-halal-cart-style-chicken-and-rice-white-sauce-recipe.html. You will have to supply your own hot sauce, I recommend a schug.


    I have to say, that recipe has become a family and friends staple. Everybody loves it. I haven't tried Halal guys yet, but if it tastes reasonably like that, I'm sure I'll give it a thumbs up, any sort of Middle Eastern authenticity issues aside. (That said, I do cut Greek yogurt half and half with the mayo in that recipe.)
  • Post #55 - March 29th, 2016, 12:47 pm
    Post #55 - March 29th, 2016, 12:47 pm Post #55 - March 29th, 2016, 12:47 pm
    Binko wrote:
    botd wrote:I live nearby and hope to try it out this week. For those not wanting to wait in line that long, here is an excellent recipe http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/12/serious-eats-halal-cart-style-chicken-and-rice-white-sauce-recipe.html. You will have to supply your own hot sauce, I recommend a schug.


    I have to say, that recipe has become a family and friends staple. Everybody loves it. I haven't tried Halal guys yet, but if it tastes reasonably like that, I'm sure I'll give it a thumbs up, any sort of Middle Eastern authenticity issues aside. (That said, I do cut Greek yogurt half and half with the mayo in that recipe.)


    Inspired by you guys, I made this and it was soooo delicious! Thank you.

    My version of the white sauce had mustard powder, garlic and a lot more lemon juice added (next time I will not use as much sugar), and I chopped the meat up in the skillet after it was mostly cooked, so it got a little more pan love. Sriracha worked for the hot sauce.

    I've never been to The Halal guys (here or NY) but this will def. be part of my recipe rotation now.
    Leek

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  • Post #56 - March 31st, 2016, 7:47 am
    Post #56 - March 31st, 2016, 7:47 am Post #56 - March 31st, 2016, 7:47 am
    I am glad people enjoyed the recipe. But I want to make it clear that the product at Halal Guys is far inferior to what you will get with that recipe.
  • Post #57 - April 1st, 2016, 6:35 am
    Post #57 - April 1st, 2016, 6:35 am Post #57 - April 1st, 2016, 6:35 am
    The first suburban Chicago location of The Halal Guys should open in the second week of May. The New York-based food truck-turned brick-and-mortar chain has picked Skokie for their third area restaurant following locations in Chicago's Gold Coast and an upcoming one in The Loop.

    http://chicago.eater.com/2016/3/31/1133 ... skokie-may
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #58 - April 1st, 2016, 9:04 am
    Post #58 - April 1st, 2016, 9:04 am Post #58 - April 1st, 2016, 9:04 am
    botd wrote:I am glad people enjoyed the recipe. But I want to make it clear that the product at Halal Guys is far inferior to what you will get with that recipe.

    That's really saying something because the sauce portion of this recipe, which I made recently, is an unmitigated disaster. I should have known better than to add the sugar. Yuck.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #59 - April 1st, 2016, 10:07 am
    Post #59 - April 1st, 2016, 10:07 am Post #59 - April 1st, 2016, 10:07 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    botd wrote:I am glad people enjoyed the recipe. But I want to make it clear that the product at Halal Guys is far inferior to what you will get with that recipe.

    That's really saying something because the sauce portion of this recipe, which I made recently, is an unmitigated disaster. I should have known better than to add the sugar. Yuck.

    =R=



    The sauce is definitely the divisive part of that recipe, but my understanding is that it emulates the carts very well and I know it tasted similar to Halal Guys' if not more tart. Some people don't like mayo and some people don't like to mix sweet in their savory meals. Personally, I think a tablespoon of sugar in a cup of fatty, tangy mayo and greek yogurt with additional vinegar and lemon is fine, but you can see in the comments in the recipe a lot of tweaks that involve subbing out mayo or reducing the sugar.

    However, I stand by the chicken and rice portion of the recipe surpassing any similar dish I have tasted.
  • Post #60 - July 26th, 2016, 7:14 am
    Post #60 - July 26th, 2016, 7:14 am Post #60 - July 26th, 2016, 7:14 am
    Had a combo a couple of weeks ago, fine, ok, glad I gave Halal Guys a try. Worked better as mishmash as opposed to individual components.

    Halalguys1.jpg Halal Guys Combo
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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