Eating street meat from a street food cart is a veritable rite of passage in NYC. But there's one cart that reigns supreme above all others, and that’s Halal Guys (officially named The Halal Guys). A bona fide institution with over 25 years of street meat experience, you can thank The Halal Guys for mainstreaming halal carts in a way no one thought possible -- seriously, even the guys who started it are pretty shocked. We sat down with these kings of the corner to get all their delicious secrets, and we’re pretty confident you’re gonna need a gyro coated in white sauce after reading this.
The Halal Guys started out as hot dog vendors
Before dominating the halal scene, founders Mohamed Abouelenein, Abdelbaset Elsayed, and Ahmed Elsaka ran a hot dog cart out of their founding corner on 53rd St & 6th Ave. But the three quickly realized that there was a strong demand from cab drivers for convenient halal food that didn’t involve driving to Astoria, and thus The Halal Guys (THG) was born.
Cab drivers played a critical role in kick-starting the cart's popularity
You might not have even been born yet, but back in 1990, there was no internet. So to develop any sort of following The Halal Guys had to rely on word of mouth, and luckily the cab driver community did just that. Whenever tourists asked their cabbies where to go eat, they often suggested The Halal Guys, and this promotion helped foster an initial fan base.