T.O.’s new­est New York City im­port has tongues wag­ging

Ex­pect snaking queues and plenty of white sauce at the Halal Guys’ hap­pen­ing out­post

North York Post - - Food - By Karolyne El­la­cott


When three dudes from Egypt ar­rived in the U. S. A. back in 1990, they no­ticed some­thing was up. Mohamed Aboue­lenein, Ahmed El­saka and Ab­del­baset El­sayed opened a hot dog cart at West 53rd Street and 6th Av­enue, and found that Mus­lim cab­bies, who made up much of their cus­tomer base, weren’t sat­is­fied when it came to halal food op­tions. A trio of great minds thought alike and Man­hat­tan’s orig­i­nal halal food cart con­cept was born.


From Ara­bic, the term “halal” lit­er­ally trans­lates into “per­mis­si­ble” and must stick to Is­lamic law as de­fined by the Qur’an. This means that when pre­par­ing halal meats, the an­i­mals must be both healthy and alive at the time of slaugh­ter (al­though there’s de­bate sur­round­ing stun­ning). A ded­i­ca­tion — or tas­miya — is ut­tered be­fore the an­i­mals are killed, uti­liz­ing spe­cific cuts be­fore the blood is fi­nally drained from the car­cass.


But enough about that. Fast-for­ward a few years and the Halal Guys has mor­phed into a halal em­pire, with al­most 50 out­posts glob­ally. The chain has re­cently ex­panded into Canada, pin­point­ing Toronto as a red-hot mar­ket. With the city’s flag­ship space, which seats 30, lo­cated at Yonge and Welles­ley, the New York–style line­ups al­ready ap­pear to be here to stay. In­side, bun­dles of Ry­er­son stu­dents or­der from the con­cise menu made up of sand­wiches and plat­ters. The best bet is to get the chicken and beef gyro plat­ter, which is piled high with the fresh-from-the-ro­tis­serie-spit meats, re­sult­ing in pro­tein that’s moist and crispy all at once. A mound of or­ange-hued rice, pita tri­an­gles for scoop­ing, rounds of jalapeno plus an ad­mit­tedly lame salad (ice­berg and tomato isn’t where it’s at) fin­ish off the plate. Say, “Plenty!” to the in­quiry re­gard­ing the amount of gar­licky may­obased white sauce de­sired and show cau­tion when it comes to the red (it’s real fiery, we prom­ise). And don’t worry — if you’ve ac­ci­den­tally un­der­sold your­self on the white sauce, catch the server walk­ing around, as she tops folks up. The Halal Guys, 563 Yonge St., 416-901-1011

Chomp on the chicken and beef gyro combo plat­ter (well, to start)

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