April 6, 2022 By Allie Griffin
The Halal Guys, a popular New York City-based halal food chain, is opening a location in the Queens Center Mall this spring.
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 at the mall’s food court in Elmhurst — the neighborhood where its founders were raised .
Franchise owner Jack Yeung, a Connecticut-based pharmacist who owns and operates several Halal Guys restaurants, said the eatery will open by the end of spring – though an official opening date has yet to be announced.
The 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.
Like the three founders of The Halal Guys, Yeung 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 pharmacy, Yeung was familiar with the restaurant business. Growing up, he said his family owned numerous restaurants inside and outside of New York.
“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 sides 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 and his first in Queens. 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 also 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.
Since opening its franchise opportunities in 2014, The Halal Guys now operates more than 100 locations in the United States, Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
For updates on the Queens Center opening date, follow the location’s Facebook page.