Satisfying a craving for the Halal Guys is soon to be a lot easier.
The franchise's second brick-and-mortar location, currently under construction at 95th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, will open before the end of the year, according to general manager Hesham Hegazy.
The Halal Guys—which built its reputation on its popular food carts at 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue—has come to College Walk on occasion in recent years as part of fundraising efforts for Columbia student groups, including GlobeMed at Columbia and the Symposium China Project.
Hegazy said that these campus appearances will continue even after the Upper West Side eatery opens its doors, adding that the Halal Guys will also cater Columbia football games in the fall.
According to Associate Athletic Director Darlene Camacho, that arrangement isn't entirely set in stone.
“We are continually evaluating our game day services, promotions, and events,” Camacho said in an email. “I know that The Halal Guys were contacted regarding there services but I do not believe a final decision has been made.”
The Halal Guys' expansion beyond its iconic food carts—which bear red-and-yellow umbrellas and the slogan “We Are Different”—took shape when it opened its first brick-and-mortar eatery in the East Village in June.
“It's doing great,” Hegazy said of the East Village restaurant. “There was so much demand for a location in this area. A lot of customers came from all the way downtown to 53rd and Sixth. The East Village is a perfect location.”
The East Village eatery draws a good amount of New York University customers, according to Hegazy, and likewise, the 95th Street location was strategically chosen.
“Most likely we will have a great number of Columbia students,” he said. “That's why we chose that location. We wanted to be as close to Columbia as possible.”
Hegazy said that the differences between the stores and the carts would be minimal.
“We want the inside atmosphere to be close to the outside atmosphere,” he said. “We added a couple of items for vegetarians, but the food is the same. There's a slight difference in the price—it's now $7.” A standard platter at the cart currently costs $6.
When the issue of competing halal carts in Morningside Heights was brought up, Hegazy didn't seem concerned, smiling and shaking his head.
“There are 1,000 halal carts in the city, but there is only one Halal Guys in the entire United States.”
firstname.lastname@example.org | @sallysetgo