$18 & Under: Mediterranean Delight, Halal Guys


Photo by William Gangnath

The chicken and gyro platter with hummus on the side is one of the staple meals and costs $10.60

Michael Carvajal, Staff Writer

From New York City to Rockville, Md., The Halal Guys have definitely lived up to their reputation. With great food at low prices, the small franchise makes an impact with both its food and its hospitality.

The Halal Guys was started as a hot dog cart on the corner of West 53rd and 6th Avenue in New York City in 1990. Since then, they have opened restaurants across the U.S. and Southeast Asia, increasing demand for further expansion into the U.S. midwest. The Halal Guys’ closest location is in Wintergreen Plaza on Rockville Pike.

The restaurant features a red and yellow theme preserving the style of the original hot dog cart it started from. Continuing this style, customers order from a windowed counter and can choose between carryout or seating at stainless steel tables.

Customers begin their order by choosing between a sandwich or a platter, followed by  another choice of falafel, chicken, gyro or a combo platter. The second step is to choose rice, lettuce or tomato to be added to the meal. The final step is to add the desired assortment of toppings and sauces, notably the famous red and white sauces.

The off-the-rotisserie gyro is laid on top of freshly cut tomatoes and lettuce and wrapped in toasted flatbread. An even spread of red olives and white and red sauce adds an impactful dash of salt and spice, bringing a flare to the savory gyro.

In addition to the strong menu, the prices are reasonable too. For the low cost, customers receive a variety of customization options. The starting price for sandwiches is $7.99 and platters come in at $8.99. Toppings such as hummus can be added at a low price of 99 cents, while the majority of toppings are only 50 cents. For about $11, customers can buy an impressive meal both in its portions and flavor.

Sides include hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, tahini and fries, and range from $2.99 to $3.99. The only item on the desert menu is baklava, a syrup-sweet pastry.  

Although served at room temperature, the baklava keeps a nice consistent layering of syrup and pastry. It keeps its crisp flakiness without being difficult to eat, as well as not overpowering the runny of the syrup.

Apart from food, the service is fast and friendly. The Halal Guys’ mission is “to delight each of [their] customers with unparalleled hospitality and mouthwatering food at great prices,” according to their website, and they are certainly living up to it. The staff quickly makes orders and offers suggestions based on the customer and their personal favorites.

The food is prepared with care and thought, balancing the concentration of ingredients throughout. The staff adds generous amounts of both protein and toppings, creating an impressively full serving. Customers are served with friendly and polite conversation, adding to the already welcoming aesthetic of the restaurant.

The Halal Guys currently have over 200 restaurants worldwide and hope to make further expansions across the U.S. in the next few years. RHS students should definitely give it a try; the food is high quality and priced fairly, with a wide range of customization options.