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Start Lining Up: New York's Halal Guys Plans Chicago Expansion in Summer

Five brick and mortar locations planned in Chicago with the first in Gold Coast.

The Halal Guys
The Halal Guys
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

New York cult favorite The Halal Guys is heading to Chicago, beginning with a Gold Coast location.

It's the first of five Chicago planned spots for the street meat icon, according to sources involved, as the vendors are attempting to transform into a global brick-and-mortar food brand with a massive expansion that includes the Philippines and Malaysia. Earlier this week they announced pending arrivals in Southern California, the Bay Area and Las Vegas. News about Chicago was taken down from the Halal Guys' Facebook page earlier today.

A line forms down the street at a location of Halal Guys. Eater NY

The Chicago location, which has a fledgling Facebook page, would open this summer. Chicago has a healthy appetite for Halal food, as shown by its annual Halal Food Festival and a growing Muslim population. Halal food is prepared in accordance to Islamic law.

Investors in the expansion have lauded a crossover appeal to other demographics. That's evidenced by long lines of customers waiting for the food cart and for tastes of The Halal Guys' signature white sauce, gyros and other platters. The success has even begot imitators.

The expansion plan was announced last year, as The Halal Guys expect to open hundreds for brick-and-mortar locations in hopes of becoming "the Chipotle of Middle Eastern food." Here's a lengthy primer on the Halal Guys, as it sprouted from a food cart in the 1990s to its first brick and mortar space last year in New York.