The Halal Guys

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The Halal Guys
53rd and 6th.jpg
A line at the cart
Restaurant information
Established 1990
Current owner(s) Mohamed Abouelenein
Food type Halal
Street address Corner of 53rd St and 6th Avenue, SE corner
City New York City
State New York
Country United States
Coordinates 40°45′42″N 73°58′45″W / 40.76180°N 73.97928°W / 40.76180; -73.97928Coordinates: 40°45′42″N 73°58′45″W / 40.76180°N 73.97928°W / 40.76180; -73.97928
Website The Halal Guys

The Halal Guys (commonly known as Chicken and Rice, 53rd and 6th, or Platters) is a halal gyros food cart on the south-east corner of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The franchise also has a cart on the south-west corner of the same intersection during weekdays from 7pm-4am and weekends until 5am. New locations are being added throughout New York, including a storefront on 14th St and 2nd Ave. [1]

The cart is most recognized by its primary dish which is a platter of chicken and/or gyro meat with rice[2] while it also serves a chicken and/or gyro wrap. The cart opens from 7:00 pm,[3] and does not close until 4 am.[2][4]

History[edit]

The Halal Guys was founded in 1990 by Mohamed Abouelenein, from Egypt,[5] as a cart located on 53rd and 6th.[4][6] The cart began as a hot dog vendor, however Abouelenein believed that the hot dog was not a satisfying meal and switched to the current menu of chicken, gyro meat, rice, and pita in 1992.[4]

The cart has caused a decline in the popularity of hot dog vendors in New York City and has influenced many imitation carts.[4] A cart known as New York's Best Halal Food also located on 53rd and 6th next on the SW corner, weekdays until 7pm. It is unknown which cart was located at the intersection first. 'New York's Best Halal Food' also has a strong following and long line of lunchtime patrons. They wear similar attire (bright yellow shirts) and serve the same type of food though the texture, taste, and freshness is slightly different.[7]

Locations[edit]

The main cart is located on 53rd and 6th Ave during weekday evenings (7pm-4am) and weekends, across from the Hilton Hotel.

A second cart is located across the street from the original cart, on the south-east corner of 6th Avenue and 53rd Street and is open both during the daytime and at night.[8]

A third cart exists on the south-west corner of 53rd Street and 7th Avenue, and begins serving food at lunch time.[9]

In November 2013, The Halal Guys announced its intentions to open a restaurant located on 14th St. and 2nd Ave. according to general manager Hesham Hegazy.[6]

Menu[edit]

The cart serves platters and sandwiches. The platter includes meat (chicken, gyro lamb or both), rice, iceberg lettuce (or, instead, extra rice), and slices of pita bread. The sandwich serves the same ingredients wrap in pita bread instead. The third, infrequently ordered, menu option is a platter that does not include rice.

White sauce[edit]

The Halal Guys serve a unique white condiment which patrons cite as a favorite. Operators of the stand maintain it is not mayonnaise, but have admitted that it may contain mayonnaise in some part as well as yogurt.[1]

Awards[edit]

In 2005, Chicken and Rice was one of four finalists for the "Vendy Award" presented by a New York City street vendor advocacy group known as the Street Vendor Project. Chicken and Rice eventually lost out to Rolf Babiel from Hallo Berlin, a sausage cart on 54th and 5th.[10][11]

In addition, the popularity of the cart has been further aided by high profile customers. Chef Christopher Lee, who was one of Food & Wine Magazine's best new chefs of 2006, mentioned in an interview with the magazine that he "can't stay away from it" and once was there on Christmas Eve waiting two and a half hours in the cold.[12]

The cart has since become a prominent cuisine throughout New York City and has been heard as far as Hawaii. It has caused an increase in competition among street meat carts in Midtown Manhattan.[13][14] Lines commonly grow to over an hour wait.[15]

Incident[edit]

On October 28, 2006, a fight that started in line ended with 23-year-old Ziad Tayeh stabbing and killing 19-year-old Tyrone Gibbons.[16] Tayeh was later found not guilty, as the jury found that he acted in self-defense. The fight began after one accused the other of cutting in line.[17]

The New York Times once reported that the owners had hired bouncers.[4]

Popular culture[edit]

There is a student club at New York University dedicated to the food cart.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Halal Guys". Yelp. 
  2. ^ a b "53RDand6TH We Are Different". Retrieved March 4, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Ask Midtown Lunch: Best Chicken and Rice Cart". Midtown Lunch. Retrieved March 4, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Saki Knafo (July 29, 2007). "Decline of the Dog". The New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Halal Guys: Cashing In on Street Cred". New York Times. 2014-06-13. 
  6. ^ a b Carol Kuruvilla (2013-10-02). "Halal Guys food cart to open restaurant in East Village". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  7. ^ Max Falkowitz. "Taste Test: The 53rd and 6th Halal Street Food Showdown". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2014-02-28. 
  8. ^ Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite (June 18, 2007). "The Concrete Elite New York’s twenty best food carts ranked in order". New York Restaurants. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  9. ^ "Famous Halal Cart on 53rd & 6th, Adds Another Cart on 7th". Midtown Lunch. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  10. ^ "Vendy Awards Past Winners". Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  11. ^ Dana Bowen (2005-11-11). "In a Battle of Street-Food Vendors, the Wurst Wins". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ "Interview with Best New Chef Christopher Lee". Food & Wine. 2006-06. Retrieved March 4, 2009. 
  13. ^ "The Halal Guys". Islamic Business & Finance. 2011-09-27. 
  14. ^ Julia Moskin (2009-06-02). "A Tour Guide Tames Lunch in Midtown". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  15. ^ Michelle Won (2011-06-02). "Making NYC Street Meat: Chicken and Rice Recipe". Huffington Post. 
  16. ^ Jen Chung (2006-10-29). "Street Food Stabbing". Gothamist. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  17. ^ Shayna Jacobs (2013-04-24). "Brooklyn man who beat 2009 murder rap for killing line cutter arrested for heroin possession". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  18. ^ Yang, Emily. "Chicken, rice and a side of culture | NYU's Daily Student Newspaper". Nyunews.com. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 

External links[edit]