Seattle fans flock to The Halal Guys opening

Rehana Hassell
Customer Rehana Hassell orders the chicken platter. She says she first tried The Halal Guys back in April in California, and her first experience was amazing. (Photo by Yemas Ly)

New York’s famous Halal Guys has finally moved to Seattle, and people are flocking to get their gyros.

The company, a New York City staple for decades, capitalized and popularized halal fast food, which is food prepared according to Islamic laws.

While The Halal Guys’ original customers were Muslim cab drivers in Manhattan, the food has found mainstream appeal. More than 9,000 people said they were interested in the restaurant’s grand opening last week, and 2,000 people attended.

“This is the first franchise of this kind,” said manager Greg Larson. “In this region, you see a lot of stores that sell halal but not many restaurants that serve halal. Customers are really coming here for that.”

Customer Rehana Hassell went on the official opening day.

“I remember having it for the first time in California and it was amazing,” she said. “This is just as great!”

The company was founded by Mohamed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka and Abdelbaset Elsayed. The Halal Guys started as a hot dog cart in Manhattan. According to, the three founders converted from hot dogs to halal take-out in 1990 to cater to Muslim cab drivers grabbing food on the go.

The company has 200 franchise locations around the world, including in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Houston, Dallas and Las Vegas.

Larson said that the project to establish a franchises of The Halal Guys in Seattle took two years, including the time it took to design, train employees in New York and build the restaurant. The new restaurant is located at 101 Yesler Way in Pioneer Square.

Larson recommended the combo platter to people who have never been there before. He suggested that getting the combo platter is the “best of both worlds,” because it includes both beef and chicken.

The combo platter comes in two sizes: small ($9.99) and regular ($11.99). The dish includes pita bread, rice, beef and chicken, saffron rice mixed with “secret” spices, lettuce and tomatoes, with the customer’s choice of mayonnaise-based white sauce (not tzatziki sauce) and hot sauce.

Be careful though! The hot sauce has 20 times the spice of a jalapeno.

In addition to platters, the restaurant serves sandwiches with the option of beef gyro or chicken, as well as baklava and fries.

The Halal Guys is already looking to open up even more new locations in Seattle.

Halal Guys combo
A regular combo platter with two falafels drizzled with white sauce and a tiny bit of hot sauce. (Photo by Yemas Ly)


Halal Guys combo
Jin Lee orders the combo platter. She said “it’s pretty good.” She ordered it because she thought it would be easier to eat than the sandwich. (Photo by Yemas Ly)
Halal Guys
A customer orders food at The Halal Guys in Pioneer Square. (Photo by Yemas Ly)
Halal Guys
A worker prepares food at the Halal Guys Seattle restaurant. (Photo by Yemas Ly)