“We are different,” is the motto of The Halal Guys, the fast-casual restaurant that acts as a melting pot of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors.
While I’ve had Mediterranean food plenty of times in the past, with gyros being a main order of mine, the platter of beef gyro, rice and toppings was served in a way that I hadn’t had before. But what makes The Halal Guys different enough for that to be its motto?
I could say that being pioneers of American halal food is enough, but what really tips it over the edge for me is the “White Sauce,” which is unsurprisingly one of the features for which the chain restaurant is famous.
The newest location of The Halal Guys on Ella Boulevard, which was formerly a pawn shop, has sparse seating inside and a back patio that I didn’t notice until I was leaving. The parking spots on the side and in front of the space filled up quickly during the lunch hour, but there’s a spacious parking lot at the back.
Ordering is a lot like any other build-as-you-go concept, like Subway or Chipotle. I chose the platter over the burrito option, and then continued down the line and said yes to pretty much every addition to the gyro. Lettice, chopped tomatoes and rice were stuffed into the tin platter and the gyro meat was scooped on top. The white sauce was zig-zagged over the meat (later, I realized that the customer ordering behind me got it right when he asked for extra white sauce by saying, “Give me a lot of that.”) Chopped onions and green peppers were piled on top along with three triangle slices of pita bread.
The thin pieces of gyro were seasoned perfectly. The tender pieces were easy to spear into with my fork as I grabbed up other offerings with it.
The white sauce that smothered it boosted every bite. While the guys behind The Halal Guys have revealed some of the basic ingredients, like the easy to guess ones (i.e. black pepper), the three main ingredients that make it special is kept under wraps.
My dining companion chose the chicken option, which I was able to taste as well. I enjoyed the juicy pieces of chicken just as much as the gyro.
Sometimes at restaurants, I tend to order the beef or chicken exclusively because sometimes they do one well and the other just mediocre. I’m glad to find I liked both of the options at The Halal Guys.
And with late-night hours, The Halal Guys makes for a great midnight snack.
The Halal Guys
Address: 3008 Ella Blvd.
Hours: 10:30 a.m.–midnight Monday–Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–2 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.–midnight Sunday.
Healthy options: Yes
Star of the show: Gyro platter