Say hello to The Halal Guys, readers. Savvy commuters and aficionados of Middle Eastern cuisine will recognize the name from their iconic red-and-yellow New York City food carts and franchised locations outside Manhattan. In just a few short months, however, Westchester residents will be able to score gyros, platters, and plenty of baba ganouj right here at home.
Started by three “guys” from Egypt in 1990, The Halal Guys offered New York City residents and ex-pats something that really wasn’t available at the time: halal certified fast grub. One cart quickly turned into several, including food trucks, and, by 2013, they were the most popular food truck on FourSquare. A year later they opened their first brick-and-mortar locations and became the most-Yelp-reviewed eatery in the country. Six years later, they have two corporate locations in Manhattan (plus five carts) and 79 franchises, employing more than a thousand people worldwide.
And now they’re coming to Yonkers.
Yes, coming in spring 2019, The Halal Guys will open their first Westchester County franchise in Yonkers’ Highridge Plaza along Central Park Ave.
“What really interested the company was there’s not a lot of this type of cuisine in the area,” says East Coast Regional Franchise Marketing Manager Juan Branch. “[We] looked at this as an area where that would not only do well, but was needed.”
As if to prove the point, other eateries currently occupying or moving into the shopping center include an Arby’s, Popeyes, Crav Wings, a seafood joint, a market, a bagel shop, and a Mexican restaurant. There’s even a WeightWatchers. But no hint of falafel.
“[We] saw the traffic and said, ‘There’s no one like us here,’ and could corner the market on that type of cuisine in that area,” Branch says.
If Yonkers seems like too far of a drive to get your baklava fix, don’t fret, Northern Westchesterites: The company is already hard at work opening the county’s second Halal Guys location that’s a bit more central. Later this spring, shoppers in the Galleria at White Plains will have easy access right in the mall’s food court.
“It’s a nice area, a very up-and-coming and thriving area,” Branch says. “From a business standpoint, this is a great hotspot to be tapped into, especially for this type of cuisine!”