The Halal Guys are heading downtown.
The famed food cart, known for the long late-night lines it draws on 53rd St. and 6th Ave., is opening a restaurant in the East Village this November.
The new location on 14th St. and 2nd Ave. will feature shish kebabs, more vegetarian options, and a juice bar, according to general manager Hesham Hegazy.
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The food stand started out as a hot dog cart in 1990, according to general manager Hesham Hegazy.
“We’re working with the interior designer now,” Hegazy confirmed to The News, adding that The Guys are planning to add some sparse indoor seating to the venue.
The team scouted out the area by opening up a cart on that corner two weeks ago. They chose the East Village for its club scene and NYU’s nearby 14th street dorm, Hegazy said.
The cart is currently open from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m., and Hegazy plans to make sure the restaurant stays open for just as long.
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The stand is popular destination in the tri-state area, especially among Desis—people of South Asian descent.
“It’s ambitious, yes,” Hegazy said. “But our customers have been asking about this for years.”
The news comes as both surprise and relief to many waiting it out on The Halal Guys line this Monday.
“Finally,” said Minsu No, a 22-year-old who traveled by car to the city from Palisades Park, N.J., just for the cart’s chicken and lamb combo. He couldn’t find parking, so he said a friend was driving around while he waited in line.
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The Halal Guys are known for their gyros and rice platters, which have stayed around $6 for the past 23 years.
“I’ve been eating here for nine years,” No told The News. “I’d be at that store every day.”
The Halal Guys started out as just another hot dog cart in 1990. The company’s founders then realized there was money to be made by selling Halal food to the Muslim cabbies who drove through Midtown.
Since then, the company has grown to operate five food stands — including two stands on 6th Ave. another one on 7th Ave. and a lonely outpost at Queens’ LaGuardia Community College.
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What’s so great about the food? Several people on line this Monday said that it was the white sauce. “What do they put in there? Magic, maybe?” asked Minsu No, from N.J.
Hegazy said he’s even fielded franchise requests from people in Europe and South Asia.
Still, the lines are the longest at the cart’s original location on the southwest corner of 53rd and 6th. Even though the cart on the southeast corner is selling the same food, there are rarely any lines on that side of the street.
Part of the The Halal Guys draw seems to be linked to the word-of-mouth marketing that built its fame in the first place. It’s the story people tell their friends, that there’s this one food cart on this one random corner in the city that sells this one amazing dish — but woe to the foodie who orders from the wrong guys.
“It’s psychological,” Hegazy explains. “Our name is a brand.”
It remains to be seen whether tying that brand to an actual New York address will hold the same mythical power over its fan base.
24-year-old Richard Park, from Palisades Park, N.J., has been eating The Halal Guys’ food for nearly a decade and he had no idea that there was more than one location. He’s a bit more hesitant about the move downtown.
“I’ll definitely go, but I don’t think there would be as much of a scene,” Park told The News. “I like this atmosphere, being outside. And at 4 a.m., watching all the drunk people from the clubs standing on line.”
We are sad to tell you that Beecon, the service that provided the interactive food truck finder, is going to shut down. This is the last active week. Martin Nguyen from the San Francisco area developed the software behind Beecon, with local support by Vince Nguyen and Nicole Webber. SideDish established a relationship with Beecon over a year ago to provide the raw data for Dallas and some of the Ft. Worth food trucks. Unfortunately, though, Nguyen is going to begin working with a hot new startup and will not have time to continue Beecon, a service that never charged anyone money for the iPad app or for the browser-based Beecon.
Martin, Vince, and Nicole: Thank you for your time and energy in support of the Dallas and Ft. Worth food truck market. It has been a great working relationship.
Going forward, I will still use the tabular schedule. In place of the map, I plan on featuring a different food truck each week.
The city of Chicago has announced it will hold a food truck rally on Friday, Oct. 11 in Daley Plaza, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., featuring eight food trucks.
In a statement, the city said the rally is explicitly designed to help boost the food truck industry in Chicago. Additionally, the city stated it is aiming to “streamline licensing for new trucks entering the market.”
That’s a major turn in policy in recent months. Just within the past year, food truck interests expressed their frustration with the city over delayed licenses, a particularly tough application process, and tight restrictions.
Pulling into a terminal near you: food trucks. While other airports have been allowing food trucks to pull into airport cellphone lots, the Los Angeles airport is bringing a food truck right into Terminal 4. While LAX doesn’t actually allow food trucks to drive in off the streets, they’re showing their love of mobile cuisine by placing the shell of a food truck inside the American Airlines terminal. The truck, which opens for business on November 1, will be operated by chefs from popular LA food trucks on a rotating basis. The “truck” will be outfitted much like any other food truck, except that it won’t drive away after all the food has been served. The food truck-airport relationship was started at the Tampa International Airport in Florida last December, where they invited the vehicles to park and sell food in the cellphone lot. Other airports that now host food trucks include Tucson International Airport in Arizona, Long Beach Airport in California, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas, with other airports considering the increasingly popular option. At the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport you can get street food, including hot dogs, bratwurst, and nachos from a food cart vendor that wanders the airport. Bringing food trucks into the airport fold is beneficial for a number of reasons, not least of which is allowing travelers to get a first (or last) tasty bite of the region.
Pulling into a terminal near you: food trucks. While other airports have been allowing food trucks to pull into airport cellphone lots, the Los Angeles airport is bringing a food truck right into Terminal 4.
While LAX doesn’t actually allow food trucks to drive in off the streets, they’re showing their love of mobile cuisine by placing the shell of a food truck inside the American Airlines terminal. The truck, which opens for business on November 1, will be operated by chefs from popular LA food trucks on a rotating basis. The “truck” will be outfitted much like any other food truck, except that it won’t drive away after all the food has been served.
The food truck-airport relationship was started at the Tampa International Airport in Florida last December, where they invited the vehicles to park and sell food in the cellphone lot.
Other airports that now host food trucks include Tucson International Airport in Arizona, Long Beach Airport in California, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas, with other airports considering the increasingly popular option. At the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport you can get street food, including hot dogs, bratwurst, and nachos from a food cart vendor that wanders the airport.
Bringing food trucks into the airport fold is beneficial for a number of reasons, not least of which is allowing travelers to get a first (or last) tasty bite of the region.
As more and more well-established food trucks open brick and mortar locations in Houston, there’s room in the market for new trucks to step up and find a following. One such contender is Gastro Punk.
This two-month old food truck bills itself as serving “American street food with a South Texas attitude.” The eye catching design features a punk chicken and full sound system with a TV. More than looks, it takes great food to establish a truck, and Gastro Punk’s owners have cooking chops to spare.
Schoenburg hesitates for a bit when asked to define his food but settles on “gastropub food” and “street food from everywhere.”
“My wife and I are both fine dining chefs,” owner Don Schoenburg tells CultureMap. When Schoenburg and his wife, pastry chef Christina Carter, moved back to Texas after a two-year stint in the British Virgin Islands, he says “I couldn’t find anything I wanted to sink my teeth into.” Carter encouraged him to open a food truck to do “my kind of food.”
Schoenburg hesitates for a bit when asked to define his food but settles on “gastropub food” and “street food from everywhere” as descriptors. He and Carter make all of their own ingredients including barbecue sauce, salsa and pickles. For example, this week the truck will introduce a house-made wild boar bratwurst with homemade sauerkraut on a Slow Dough bun and a duck burger.
There are even a couple of healthy options in the form of an ahi tuna burger and watermelon salad. Also, thanks to Carter’s skills, the truck serves its own desserts, which is rare to find in a truck with savory offerings.
In addition to the unusual ingredients, Schoenburg stresses that they cook everything to order. “The quality shows through in the food we serve,” he says.
The truck can be found at a variety of spots around town, including dog park bar The Boneyard on Tuesday, Memorial Wine Cellar on Wednesday and Friday and the new food truck park in EaDo on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Follow Gastro Punk on Twitter and Facebook to stay current on times and locations.
Dedicated “Top Chef” fans got a taste of New Orleans in the Big Apple.
To celebrate the season 11 premiere of “Top Chef,” set in New Orleans on Wednesday, Bravo has teamed up with Grub Street to roll out a Top Chef food truck serving Big Easy specialties throughout the city from beignets for breakfast to po’ boys for lunch.
Adrian Lam/New York Daily News
Pictured here (left to right) Smoked sausage po’ boy, Shrimp po’ boy and Roast beef po’ boy.
“Top Chef” judges Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons were on site at select locations serving up Southern specialties straight from Domilise’s Po-Boy and Bar in New Orleans. The menu featured beignets, fried shrimp po’ boys, roast beef po’ boys, jambalaya and red beans with rice.
Adrian Lam/New York Daily News
Dedicated “Top Chef” fans waited up to two and a half hours to get a taste of the Big Easy.
“We were throwing around ideas and said, ‘What’s the one thing New Yorkers can’t get here? And we thought, po’boys from Domilise’s,” Grubstreet editor Alan Sytsma told the Daily News of the delicious collaboration.
Adrian Lam/New York Daily News
The roast beef po’ boy.
To get in on the free lunch, eaters followed their taste buds to Twitter via @BravoTopChef along with their Facebook page where times and locations were announced throughout the day. The truck made stops outside the New York Times Building, Columbus Circle, Time Inc. and Union Square luring in lines of hungry foodies willing to wait up to two and a half hours.
“I’m a Louisiana native so I’ve been following the food truck all morning!” said Zac Denham, 26 of Astoria who waited two hours on his day off to get his hands on a shrimp po’boy. “I’m just ready to eat!”
Adrian Lam/New York Daily News
Hungry New Yorkers wait in line to get a taste of New Orleans.
“I went to school in New Orleans so I think it’s really cool that they’re bringing actual po’ boys to New York for everyone to try,” said Chelsea native Lisa Ganguzza, 28 who didn’t mind taking a half hour lunch break to wait in line. “It’s definitely just as spicy and delicious as it is in New Orleans.”
For every meal served, donations were made to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.
Adrian Lam/New York Daily News
The shrimp po-boy.
After a failed attempt to eat lunch with a friend on Thursday (failed in the sense that there was so little edible in what we were attempting to enjoy that we were still hungry when we left), I thought I had a brilliant idea: We’d stop at the new Truck Yard and pick up something fun and tasty. There’s been a lot of excitement in town — or at least in Dallas food blogosphere — about the food truck park just off lower Greenville, and this would give me a nice chance to check it out. It’s just across Sears St. from the new Trader Joe’s.
We drove there, we parked, we ventured in, and then hey! Reality check time! Are you sitting down? Truck Yard only had two food trucks. No, not 22 — two! This is what everyone so excited about? Really, kids? Are we kidding?
The place is pretty cool-looking, with lots of funky backyard furniture, a bar set up in a converted Airstream trailer, another in a tree house and a third in a permanent building. But where were all the food trucks? They must be here somewhere. All we found was the Ssahm BBQ truck (Korean tacos) and a taco truck sponsored by a Mexican ingredient company. I’ve sampled Korean tacos and such from Ssahm, but I’d been hoping to find something fresh and different I hadn’t tried. Shouldn’t be much of a challenge in a food truck park, right? Wrong! We looked around and looked around, but couldn’t find anything else to eat. We didn’t even see Carnival Barker’s, the ice cream truck featured in the Dallas Morning News’ own slide show about the park. Not that an ice cream truck is an idea throbbing with originality. But still, we’d have gotten a cone.
We ventured into the permanent bar to ask the bartender if we were missing something. No, he said. Ssahm BBQ is the only permanent truck, we were told (mistakenly, as it turns out; it’s not always there), and there’s always a second truck, which rotates. He pointed us to a cheese steak sandwich place at the far end of the permanent structure. Didn’t sound very appetizing.
This afternoon I tracked down Ariana Hajibashi, Truck Yard’s publicist, to ask her what gives. When I told her there were only two trucks, she sounded surprised; she thought there were supposed to be three. But among them was not supposed to be a promotional one, she said. She did some checking into it, and got back to me. “We strive to have three,” she said, “and sometimes the food trucks back out. It’s still a work in progress with these trucks.” She pointed me to a schedule on Truck Yard’s website, where indeed three different trucks are listed for lunch and dinner each day. Listed for lunch on the day we went: Bobaddiction, Easy Slider and Ssahm BBQ. She told me Carnival Barker’s was definitely there, though. But it’s not a truck, it’s a window on the permanent building. Really? I didn’t see it, and we were looking for something sweet. Turns out it’s to the left of the entrance, beyond the signage that says this is not a public entrance.
You know what? Even if three trucks did bother to show up, unless they were three interesting trucks — and I’m wondering whether there even are three interesting food trucks in Dallas — that would be pretty darn lame.
Not awesome, dudes.
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Just when we thought there was a food truck for everything, we found one we never thought we’d see: one from the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts!
Yes, the first official Four Seasons food truck, known as the FS Taste Truck, just hit the road on the West Coast. It started out in Palo Alto, moved to San Francisco, and will hit Santa Barbara; Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and Westlake Village in the L.A. area; and Scottsdale, Ariz., before wrapping up in Santa Fe, N.M., this November.
Covering three states and more than 1,000 miles, the truck and tour are meant to show off the brand’s culinary skills.
“Food is a passion for us at Four Seasons and we are always seeking to share that in inspiring and exciting ways, whether it’s through a Michelin-star dining experience or the perfect beer and burger pairing at one of our gastropubs,” says Guy Rigby, the brand’s vice president of food and beverage in the Americas. “We want to keep our chefs engaged in something that is very relevant and the food truck movement fits the bill. It’s fun, unexpected.”
Unexpected is right! When we think Four Seasons, we think more Pretty Woman in the red dress and gloves (“Reg. Bev. Wil.”) than we think hollering a taco order through a window.
The truck is visiting the property’s hotels at each stop, and will stay at each for a week, offering a series of events and menus inspired by those cities. Think pop-up parking lot parties and local cuisine chef competitions.
And it’s not all food and games. After the tour, a portion of the total proceeds will go to Chefs to End Hunger, a charity that works with hotels, restaurants and food service operations across the country to redistribute extra prepared food to people in need.
Want to catch up with the truck? First of all, put down your phone and pull over. Now search #FSTasteTruck on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see where your next high-end meal on wheels is coming from.
And no, it’s no ordinary roach coach.
Spoiler alert: contains details about the finale of “The Great Food Truck Race.”
With a five-hour lead in time (but only $249 in cash) going into the final leg of “The Great Food Truck Race,” St. Louis’ Tikka Tikka Taco seemed to be set up to win their food truck. But there are no sure things in reality TV competitions.
Reaching Annapolis, Md., ahead of competitors Aloha Plate and Philly’s Finest Sambonis, T3 had a great first day of sales — but so did the other teams. On Day 2, host Tyler Florence sent the teams out on a boat to catch crabs and prepare them. The others were running scared. “If Tikka wins this challenge” — which came with a $1,500 prize — ”they win the whole thing,” Aloha Plate declared. “Game over.”
Philly’s Finest wound up with shell in its crab crostini. Aloha Plate’s stuffed crabs were declared too salty. T3′s crab ceviche on a pita was judged fresh-tasting, but without enough sauce. Mike Swaleh was “feeling pretty confident” at that point.
However, the win went to Aloha Plate. “Game changer,” that team called it. “Killer,” T3 said.
But even without the $,1500 bonus, T3 came in first in combined Chicago and Annapolis sales. Philly’s Finest was eliminated, sending Aloha Plate to the finale along with T3.
“St. Louis vs. Hawaii,” Florence said. “This is going to be great.” He then sent the final two to back west to Arlington, Va.
“Aloha Plate can roll up anywhere and attract a following,” Mike said. “We don’t have that luxury.”
True: Aloha Plate served Spam sandwiches while a Hawaiian crowd listened to someone strum a ukulele and watched luau dancers. (“Wherever we go, the aloha spirit seems to find us,” the team said, adding, “We’ve never had a better day.”)
T3 couldn’t find customers and headed nearby, hoping to draw a crowd away. “Today sucked,” Mike said.
Would the race ever end? “It’s going to end when we get the keys to the truck, right?” Shaun said.
On Day 2 of the finale, Florence sent the teams to Washington, D.C., where T3 was told to sell a teriyaki burger “in honor of your competition,” while a baffled Aloha had to sell a chicken tikka taco. Sell 50 specials and win a $1,000 bonus, they were told.
Parking a food truck in Washington, D.C., isn’t easy, but both set up, and customers declared T3′s burger “outstanding.” Meanwhile, Aloha sold all 50 of its specials.
But whoa, Florence then declared that the race was over and told the teams to meet him on the National Mall. He’d count the cash in front of them and name the winner, who’d get the food truck plus $50,000.
In front of the U.S. Capitol, with their trucks behind them, the finalists watched Florence count. (That had to be agony.) “I’ve seen from both teams what it takes to be a winner,” Florence said. “I look at your team and have nothing but admiration,” he told T3.
Aloha Plate then won with a total of $14,850 for the finale.
Tikka Tikka Taco was runner up with $11,774.
“Shaun, there will be a Tikka Tikka Taco truck in St. Louis,” Florence said before asking for the keys to the one they’d been driving back.
“We won the knowledge, the skills and the resources to do this enterprise on our own,” Mike said. “We have no regrets. We fought hard, and we’re on to bigger and better things.”
Stay tuned for what’s next from T3, including a new Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for a down payment on that food truck they still want.
Skybar at the Mondrian is offering a limited-time four-course liquid dinner of craft cocktails and artisan breads. The cocktails include mushroom-infused Belvedere and beet and avocado-infused spirits, with garnishes such as an entire piece of bacon or goat cheese and lettuce. One of the cocktails is even served in a mini bell pepper. All of the cocktails were crafted by Robert Descant, Danielle Nelson and Handerson Wade. The accompanying breads are baked by Artisan Crust Bakery in Los Angeles and chosen by its bread sommelier Arvin Natan. The cocktail dinner will be available Oct. 1 to Oct. 3. 8440 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-6025, www.morganshotelgroup.com.
La Brea Bakery Cafe is undergoing renovations, so the popular L.A. bakery has launched a temporary food truck. It’s parked behind the bakery’s new location at 468 S. La Brea Ave. The truck will offer artisan pastries and breads as well as a limited menu of sandwiches, including a turkey avocado and ham and Gruyere, as well as a couple of salads, espresso drinks, coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate. The truck will be open Mondays through Fridays 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be in operation until the new La Brea Bakery Cafe opens later this year. www.labreabakery.com.
Patina is hosting a guest chef series this fall through winter 2014. The series kicks off Oct. 2 and 3 with former Patina chef Theo Schoenegger (currently at Encore’s Sinatra restaurant in Las Vegas). Schoenegger will prepare a multi-course Italian-inspired menu with three courses for $70, four courses for $85, five courses for $100 and six courses for $115. Menu highlights include the Cappesante, a diver scallop carpaccio; porcini and blueberry risotto; 36-hour braised veal cheeks; Torta al Cioccolato con banana, caramel pudding with bananas brûlée and more. Call for reservations. 141 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 972-3331, www.patinarestaurant.com.
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