Sept. 19, 2022 By Christian Murray
The Halal Guys, a popular New York City-based halal food chain, is opening a location in the Queens Center Mall this weekend.
The eatery, which was started by three Egyptian immigrants as a lone Manhattan food cart in 1990 and morphed into a brick-and-mortar restaurant business, will open a franchise location Saturday in the mall’s food court in Elmhurst—the neighborhood where the founders were raised.
Franchise owner Dr. Jack Yeung, a Connecticut-based pharmacist who owns and operates several Halal Guys restaurants, told the Queens Post in April that the Queens Center Mall location will offer the traditional menu items The Halal Guys is known for—its gyro sandwiches, falafels, and rice platters, which are served with meat and its signature white sauce.
The Halal Guys is offering a number of promotions to kick off Saturday’s opening. The first 100 customers in-store will get a free platter, with the next 100 in-store customers getting craft drinks for free. Everyone who checks in on Facebook or Instagram from 9/24/22 – 9/25/22 will have a chance to win one of two $100 gift cards and a PlayStation
Yeung, like the three founders of The Halal Guys, is no stranger to Queens. A native New Yorker, he grew up in Woodside and studied at St. John’s University where he met his wife.
“I lived in Queens [for] a large part of my life,” Yeung told the Queens Post. “Queens is home to me.”
Shortly after graduating from St. John’s, Yeung and his wife moved to Connecticut and soon opened several pharmacies.
Despite pursuing a career in pharmacology, Yeung was familiar with the restaurant business. Growing up, he said his family owned numerous restaurants.
But he was always interested in The Halal Guys, even from a young age.
“When I was in college, I would wait on those long lines at the cart at 53rd and Sixth [in Manhattan] and I would be enamored by their operation, the quality of the food — I was absolutely in love with their white sauce,” Yeung said. “So, I was always waiting on the sidelines to see when they would decide to franchise this business and perhaps one day I could be a part of it.”
That opportunity came in 2015 when Yeung became one of the first to get a Halal Guys franchise. He has since opened 10 locations throughout the tristate area.
The Queens Center Mall will be Yeung’s eleventh Halal Guys location, although he has a business partner with this venture. Nevertheless, he said its opening feels like a homecoming.
“That’s what makes this location so special — the fact that I’m from Queens, my partner’s from Queens, my wife is from Queens,” Yeung said. “But on top of that, the founders only lived a few blocks away from Queens Center; they’re from the neighborhood. It’s a good way to pay homage to the roots of the brand.”
The Halal Guys operates in more than 100 locations, with eateries in the United States, Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The company has been offering franchise opportunities since 2014.
The Halal Guys currently operates two locations in Queens, with the Queens Center Mall scheduled to be its third.
The company currently has a cart location outside LaGuardia Community College at 31-10 Thomson Ave. and a catering center in Long Island City at 24-08 40th Ave.