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

Chicago’s Top Spots for Creative Halal Street Eats

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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 is usually the first that comes to mind when it comes to halal or zabiha cuisine as it is typically enjoyed in Muslim-majority countries. The truth is Chicagoans can find items all over the area, especially on famed Devon Avenue and suburbs like Bridgeview that have 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.

As of August 20, the city has mandated that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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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.

Kapitan

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Kapitan is Chicago’s only Peranakan restaurant, serving the city a unique sliver of Malaysian culture. All the meats on the menu are confirmed halal with options like the ramly Burger (an egg-wrapped beef patty), and nasai lemak which comes in beef, chicken, and lamb varieties.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Lilac Tiger

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Headed by Zubair Mohajir, Lilac Tiger is a bar with a small menu inspired by Indian classics. There’s a burger, duck fried rice, chicken nuggets, and more. All of it is halal. These are casual bar bites cooked with fine dining precision. There’s something for everyone.

A bowl of fried rice. Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

This unique River North restaurant serves Mediterranean food through the lenses of a pair of Indian chefs. Essentially, this might be food served in India with the ingredients and spice levels expected by locals. The lamb is halal and the chicken can be when requested. The restaurant is from the backers behind Michelin-starred Indienne.

A kebob from Sifr Sifr/Neil John Burger

Monarch & Lion

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The owners of Rooh Chicago in the West Loop, one of the city’s best Indian restaurants, have also opened a British pub in Streeterville. All the meats at Monarch & Lion, from the fish & chips, to chicken tikka masala, are halal.

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.

Bombay Eats / Wraps

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A fast causal option for years, Bombay Wraps gives customers a taste of Indian street food. The menu includes two halal options: the lamb curry and beef kebab.

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.

Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings

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This Chinatown staple is known for its dumplings which come in many varieties. The one confirmed halal item is the lamb and coriander dumpling.

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.

Kapitan

Kapitan is Chicago’s only Peranakan restaurant, serving the city a unique sliver of Malaysian culture. All the meats on the menu are confirmed halal with options like the ramly Burger (an egg-wrapped beef patty), and nasai lemak which comes in beef, chicken, and lamb varieties.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Lilac Tiger

Headed by Zubair Mohajir, Lilac Tiger is a bar with a small menu inspired by Indian classics. There’s a burger, duck fried rice, chicken nuggets, and more. All of it is halal. These are casual bar bites cooked with fine dining precision. There’s something for everyone.

A bowl of fried rice. Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Sifr

This unique River North restaurant serves Mediterranean food through the lenses of a pair of Indian chefs. Essentially, this might be food served in India with the ingredients and spice levels expected by locals. The lamb is halal and the chicken can be when requested. The restaurant is from the backers behind Michelin-starred Indienne.

A kebob from Sifr Sifr/Neil John Burger

Monarch & Lion

The owners of Rooh Chicago in the West Loop, one of the city’s best Indian restaurants, have also opened a British pub in Streeterville. All the meats at Monarch & Lion, from the fish & chips, to chicken tikka masala, are halal.

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.

Bombay Eats / Wraps

A fast causal option for years, Bombay Wraps gives customers a taste of Indian street food. The menu includes two halal options: the lamb curry and beef kebab.

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.

Related Maps

Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings

This Chinatown staple is known for its dumplings which come in many varieties. The one confirmed halal item is the lamb and coriander dumpling.

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.

Related Maps