The Halal Guys
|The Halal Guys|
A line at the cart
|Current owner(s)||Mohamed Abouelenein|
|Street address||Corner of 53rd St and 6th Avenue|
|City||New York City|
|Website||The Halal Guys|
The Halal Guys (commonly known as Chicken and Rice, 53rd and 6th, or Platters) is a halal gyros stand on the south-west corner of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The stand is located NYC's Theater District.
The cart is most recognized by its primary dish which is a platter of chicken and/or gyro meat with rice, while it also serves a chicken and/or gyro wrap. The cart opens from 7:00 pm, and does not close until 4 am.
The Halal Guys was founded in 1990 by Mohamed Abouelenein as a cart located on 53rd and 6th. 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.
The cart has caused a decline in the popularity of hot dog vendors in New York City and has influenced many imitation carts. A cart known as New York's Best Halal Food also located on 53rd and 6th next to the original is one of such carts. They wear similar attire and serve the same type of food though the taste is slightly different.
The main cart is located on 53rd and 6th next to 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.
A third cart exists on the south-west corner of 53rd Street and 7th Avenue, and begins serving food at lunch time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Lines commonly grow to over an hour wait.
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. 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.
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- Yang, Emily. "Chicken, rice and a side of culture | NYU's Daily Student Newspaper". Nyunews.com. Retrieved May 6, 2011.