First Look: Inside The Halal Guys

Lining up combos
Lining up combos
Anne Marie Panoringan

As reported last week, the official opening date for California's the first West Coast Halal Guys franchise is Friday, October 2. This means folks can stop swinging by to see if they are open yet, as the dozen or so bummed people on their lunch break found out on Friday. We were fortunate to not only get a glimpse of the goods, but speak to some of the talent behind this operation.

What can we tell you about this former food cart gone big time? For starters, their hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. Pricing for one of the coveted chicken 'n rice bowls will run between $8 and $9. When trying to explain to friends what it means to eat at Halal Guys, the short answer is "American Halal Food". At least, that's what we learned from Halal or Nothing CEO Thomas Pham (the group behind rapid expansion). If you choose to elaborate further, they get more technical on The Halal Guys website.

The aftermath
The aftermath
Anne Marie Panoringan

Of course, we must mention that tasty gyro meat and proprietary white sauce. The curious condiment resembles a cross between ranch and mayonnaise, with a tang we can't quite place. Hot sauce lovers can request the red squeeze bottle for a blast of lemon, red peppers and other ingredients they aren't willing to disclose. An unsung BBQ option makes for extra savory grub when drizzled in conjunction with either sauce. Chewy pita bread is used when ordering a sandwich, yet also holds up to a thick smear of hummus.

Leading up to The Halal Guys opening, days of practice prep and cooking mean a lot of uneaten meals. Their solution: teaming with Costa Mesa's Someone Cares Soup Kitchen and Food Finders, a Signal Hill-based food bank and rescue program that collects and delivers donated food to agencies and shelters throughout Southern California. Hey, we know LOTS of hungry mouths who are more than ready to shell out cashola when you are ready to serve.

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