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Soju BBQ’s meats are halal.
Soju BBQ/Facebook

Chicago’s Top Spots for Creative Halal Street Eats

Find fun pizzas, barbecue, tacos, and more

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Soju BBQ’s meats are halal.
| Soju BBQ/Facebook

Halal or Zabiha meat can be eaten all over Chicago, but the spots that usually come to mind are the foods of Muslim-majority countries.

Middle Eastern, North African, West African, and South Asian food are usually the first that come to mind when it comes to halal or zabiha cuisine as its typically enjoyed in Muslim-majority countries. The truth is Chicagoans can find items all over the are, especially with on famed Devon Avenue and suburbs like Bridgeview that has everything from Yemeni to Palestinian food, all halal.

An uptick in vegetarian and vegan options are also accommodating to Muslims who keep halal. But increasingly, halal pepperoni, steak, and wings are available to Chicagoland Muslims as higher-end meat-producers, like Creekstone Farms and Demkota Ranch Beef, are becoming halal-certified. Often, a restaurant won’t advertise that its steak or chicken is halal and it’s up to the consumer to know what questions to ask about meat-sourcing. These higher-end beef options are also making their way into chains, like Epic Burger and Dog Haus. It’s also about a growing number of Muslim restauranteurs knowing the Muslim and greater Chicago markets and introducing halal meat to their burger and taco joints. Below, find the most unexpected halal food Chicago has to offer, from the city’s classic thin-crust pizza with pepperoni to the gyro, as well as high-end steaks.

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Halal Peri Peri Chicken & Grill

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Chicago’s Devon Avenue is bursting with halal meat options, from the plentiful South Asian options to Iraqi and Lebanese cuisine. But if you’re in the area and are looking for something a little different, Halal Peri Peri Chicken serves  chicken in a variety of ways from wings to a whole chicken in the increasingly popular Portuguese style, with the heat ranging from mild to extra hot. 

Very much your typical burger joint, Slim’s entire menu is halal. Their special — the Slim’s Burger — is an homage to Chicago classics, with a burger patty topped with Italian beef. The dark horse MVP is the gyro: the meat is smothered in a pickle-ey and peppery sauce reminiscent of harissa or shatta, served with a side of tzatziki. Slim’s also has amazing sides, like corn fritters, and a long milkshake menu.

Tandoor Char House

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Don’t underestimate this Lincoln Park restaurant. While Tandoor Char House features traditional South Asian cuisine with all the staples most Americans expect, it’s the burgers, wings, tacos — and even pasta with chicken tikka — that differentiates it from the competition.

Dog Haus

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More and more chains are subtly introducing halal meat at all of their branches: if you’re more in the mood for a hot dog, especially a Chicago-style dog, check out LA import Dog Haus. All of their beef dogs are made of  Creekstone Farms meat, although a few options are made with bacon, which you can ask to have omitted. There are several locations in Chicago, including near DePaul in Lincoln Park.

Wazwan Supper Club

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Headed by Zubair Mohajir, Wazwan is South Asian inspired, but they also serve what’s considered by many to be the best burger in Chicago, made of both Angus beef and brisket served on a brioche bun with beef bacon. It’s currently a pop-up in Wicker Park, but they’re working on getting a permanent location soon, so follow along.

RPM Steak

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If you’re looking for something extremely upscale, RPM Steak features a filet mignon menu sourced from Creekstone Farms. The Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant  also stands apart for its extensive sides menu, which is both creative and classic: mushroom mac and cheese, hasselback potatoes, onion rings, and more.

Asada Mexican Grill

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If you’re downtown and looking for a halal option that’s not veggie, Middle Eastern or South Asian, Asada might be the place for you, with tacos, burritos, salads, quesadillas, and even chicken soup. The chicken, asada steak and barbacoa are all halal.

Green Street Smoked Meats

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Most Muslims know Creekstone Farms as a major source of halal meat, but Demkota Ranch Beef is also a halal player. Green Street Smoked Meats makes its excellent Texas-style brisket and pastrami from Demkota products, both of which you can buy by the pound or in a sandwich, If you order it by the half-pound, check out Green Street’s creative sides, including its broccoli salad and cole slaw. You can upgrade to brioche for a dollar if you feel like it. Do talk to the management if you’re worried about cross-contamination; they’ve confirmed they will change their boards, knives, and gloves for Muslim customers.

SoJu BBQ

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If you’re looking for halal meat options, normally a restaurant only has a limited number of halal offerings. Korean barbecue joint Soju in West Loop however has both halal beef and chicken: try both their bulgogi and their Korean fried chicken. It’s also a great place to take a group for the full grilling experience.

Epic Burger

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Epic Burger is a Chicago chain — with locations in Skokie and Evanston — whose take is a ‘more mindful burger; they source their beef from Creekstone Farms and you can mix and match with toppings. If you’re around the Loop or the North Side, Epic is your best bet for a good halal burger, especially with their sweet potato fries.

Chocolat Uzma

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Marshmallows can be another minefield for anyone trying to keep halal; they either need to be made vegetarian or with gelatin made from animals killed in a halal manner. Pilsen-based chocolatier Uzma Sharif makes halal marshmallows that can accompany her rich hot sipping chocolate or be used with her chocolate bars in s’mores. Keep an eye out for seasonal varieties, like peppermint marshmallows.

Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream

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Having recently become a strong addition to Bridgeport’s numerous pizza options, Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream is also one of the best halal bites in the city: halal pepperoni  is an optional topping for their thin-crust pizza. Customers had called in a few times to see if halal pepperoni was an option and it was soon added to the menu.  The pepperoni cups are  laid thick upon the wafer-thin pizza, so thick, there’s really no need for any other topping (although you should add giardiniera, which Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream sells if you don’t have any at home). Their vegetarian chicken fried mushroom is also a great dish.

Cafe 53

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Well known for their vegan and vegetarian sandwiches, all of Hyde Park’s Café 53 meat offerings are halal. Although Café 53 has the classics, like the turkey sandwich and the Reuben, they’ve also got extremely creative takes on the deli sandwich, from the meatball and eggplant panini with a sesame dressing to a kufta sandwich.

Halal Peri Peri Chicken & Grill

Chicago’s Devon Avenue is bursting with halal meat options, from the plentiful South Asian options to Iraqi and Lebanese cuisine. But if you’re in the area and are looking for something a little different, Halal Peri Peri Chicken serves  chicken in a variety of ways from wings to a whole chicken in the increasingly popular Portuguese style, with the heat ranging from mild to extra hot. 

Slim's

Very much your typical burger joint, Slim’s entire menu is halal. Their special — the Slim’s Burger — is an homage to Chicago classics, with a burger patty topped with Italian beef. The dark horse MVP is the gyro: the meat is smothered in a pickle-ey and peppery sauce reminiscent of harissa or shatta, served with a side of tzatziki. Slim’s also has amazing sides, like corn fritters, and a long milkshake menu.

Tandoor Char House

Don’t underestimate this Lincoln Park restaurant. While Tandoor Char House features traditional South Asian cuisine with all the staples most Americans expect, it’s the burgers, wings, tacos — and even pasta with chicken tikka — that differentiates it from the competition.

Dog Haus

More and more chains are subtly introducing halal meat at all of their branches: if you’re more in the mood for a hot dog, especially a Chicago-style dog, check out LA import Dog Haus. All of their beef dogs are made of  Creekstone Farms meat, although a few options are made with bacon, which you can ask to have omitted. There are several locations in Chicago, including near DePaul in Lincoln Park.

Wazwan Supper Club

Headed by Zubair Mohajir, Wazwan is South Asian inspired, but they also serve what’s considered by many to be the best burger in Chicago, made of both Angus beef and brisket served on a brioche bun with beef bacon. It’s currently a pop-up in Wicker Park, but they’re working on getting a permanent location soon, so follow along.

RPM Steak

If you’re looking for something extremely upscale, RPM Steak features a filet mignon menu sourced from Creekstone Farms. The Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant  also stands apart for its extensive sides menu, which is both creative and classic: mushroom mac and cheese, hasselback potatoes, onion rings, and more.

Asada Mexican Grill

If you’re downtown and looking for a halal option that’s not veggie, Middle Eastern or South Asian, Asada might be the place for you, with tacos, burritos, salads, quesadillas, and even chicken soup. The chicken, asada steak and barbacoa are all halal.

Green Street Smoked Meats

Most Muslims know Creekstone Farms as a major source of halal meat, but Demkota Ranch Beef is also a halal player. Green Street Smoked Meats makes its excellent Texas-style brisket and pastrami from Demkota products, both of which you can buy by the pound or in a sandwich, If you order it by the half-pound, check out Green Street’s creative sides, including its broccoli salad and cole slaw. You can upgrade to brioche for a dollar if you feel like it. Do talk to the management if you’re worried about cross-contamination; they’ve confirmed they will change their boards, knives, and gloves for Muslim customers.

SoJu BBQ

If you’re looking for halal meat options, normally a restaurant only has a limited number of halal offerings. Korean barbecue joint Soju in West Loop however has both halal beef and chicken: try both their bulgogi and their Korean fried chicken. It’s also a great place to take a group for the full grilling experience.

Epic Burger

Epic Burger is a Chicago chain — with locations in Skokie and Evanston — whose take is a ‘more mindful burger; they source their beef from Creekstone Farms and you can mix and match with toppings. If you’re around the Loop or the North Side, Epic is your best bet for a good halal burger, especially with their sweet potato fries.

Chocolat Uzma

Marshmallows can be another minefield for anyone trying to keep halal; they either need to be made vegetarian or with gelatin made from animals killed in a halal manner. Pilsen-based chocolatier Uzma Sharif makes halal marshmallows that can accompany her rich hot sipping chocolate or be used with her chocolate bars in s’mores. Keep an eye out for seasonal varieties, like peppermint marshmallows.

Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream

Having recently become a strong addition to Bridgeport’s numerous pizza options, Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream is also one of the best halal bites in the city: halal pepperoni  is an optional topping for their thin-crust pizza. Customers had called in a few times to see if halal pepperoni was an option and it was soon added to the menu.  The pepperoni cups are  laid thick upon the wafer-thin pizza, so thick, there’s really no need for any other topping (although you should add giardiniera, which Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream sells if you don’t have any at home). Their vegetarian chicken fried mushroom is also a great dish.

Cafe 53

Well known for their vegan and vegetarian sandwiches, all of Hyde Park’s Café 53 meat offerings are halal. Although Café 53 has the classics, like the turkey sandwich and the Reuben, they’ve also got extremely creative takes on the deli sandwich, from the meatball and eggplant panini with a sesame dressing to a kufta sandwich.

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