For decades, locals have enjoyed the food of Halal Guys, but only while vacationing in other major cities.
The chain, which is mostly food trucks, had never been to Michigan before a few weeks ago, when a brick-and-mortar restaurant opened in Dearborn Heights.
When Mufid Farha was on vacation in California a few years ago, he called his cousin Mohammad Hamad and told him about a restaurant version of the food cart.
“He called me and told me he saw a brick and mortar,” Hamad said. “I didn’t think they were franchising, but we called and got approved for the Michigan market.”
Hamad said the new location in Dearborn Heights, Michigan’s first Halal Guys store, will soon be followed by a location in Detroit and then at least three more in the metro area.
“We got the ball rolling and then we had some delays due to COVID-19,” he said.
Hamad said they needed to open a store quickly and that due to a dispute with a former tenant in the Detroit apartment building they needed to find and open another location quickly, their real estate agent found the new building at 26668 Ford Road in Dearborn Heights, and they just went with it.
“We have had delays here too,” Hamad said. “There is a serious lack of delivery times at the moment. Our walk-in freezer was in Tennessee for an additional five days because there was no one to mount it here. “
He said there were further delays with specialized construction parts needed that also had to be ordered out of state.
“We have lost at least three months because of the delivery delays,” he said. “We were supposed to be open on June 1st. “
Hamad said the Dearborn Heights location was meant to be, and he’s happy to open a business so close to his hometown of Dearborn.
While Halal Guys are well known across the country and the other five countries they have expanded into, the Dearborn and Dearborn Heights area is an entirely different region to tackle. As a hub of Arab culture in the Western world, there are already many Middle Eastern restaurants in the region.
“However, we don’t sell Arab food,” Hamad said. “It’s a kind of northern Mediterranean cuisine. It’s like an Egyptian / Greek menu, different from traditional Arab cuisine.
He said they are not the way to cut and paste Arabic dishes with shawarma.
“Halal does not specifically refer to Arabic or Muslim,” Hamad said. “A lot of people turn to halal or kosher food, it’s just the way it’s prepared. It’s a lot cleaner meat and a more humane way to slaughter animals.
Hamad said that during the three weeks of opening, they broke all sales records for the company in the seven, fourteen and twenty-one days of opening.
“We are still in the honeymoon phase where everyone comes to try us,” he said. “So far everyone seems to be really happy with the food and the service.”
The Halal Guys started out in a hot dog cart in New York City in 1990, but when the original owners realized how difficult it was to become a hot dog vendor, they turned to Middle Eastern food. -East.
The three founders of the company were all immigrants from Egypt. They were all former taxi drivers, passionate about food, much like Hamad.
Although Hamad is not a former taxi driver, he owned several pizzerias and worked as a chef for several years. He currently has several other business interests.
The Halal Guys chain has grown in the 31 years since its inception, there are now 90 quick and casual restaurants, as well as food carts still in major cities.
The restaurant is open from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit https://thehalalguys.com/locations/26650-ford-rd-dearborn-heights/, or call the restaurant at 313-406-4628.