From Food Cart to Franchise

The Dallas foodie scene gained New York food cart legend The Halal Guys in July via franchisee Danny Bui. It’s not set in one of the typical up-and-coming neighborhoods often occupied by new restaurants, and Bui said that’s exactly why he and his partners chose the western Lemmon Avenue location.

“One of the directional questions we asked ourselves was, ‘How can we have that cart feel in a brick-and-mortar location,’” Bui said. “We purposefully picked a more urban setting, not in a strip center, to maintain the free-standing aspect of the New York cart environment.”

Bui said he fell in love with the cart from his sporadic trips to New York. Then, when he left his job as a critical care ICU nurse at Baylor University Medical Center in 2015, he learned The Halal Guys was just embarking on becoming a franchise.

“I thought that it was a no-brainer to want to bring this to Dallas,” Bui said. “There was no better time to me to give my entrepreneurial spirit a try.”

The Halal Guys started on the streets of New York City in 1990. Since the beginning, their menu has been simple: chicken and gyro meat seasoned with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern spices, falafel, rice, lettuce, tomato, and pita combined in a platter or sandwich – a menu that adheres to the Halal tradition of clean and humane meals permissible in the Islamic faith.

The real kickers are the white and red sauces used to douse the meal, a process that is done to the customer’s exacting preference. The white sauce, The Halal Guys’ specialty and secret recipe, offers plates a tangy, creamy, crisp flavor that balances out the smokiness of the meat.

The food is exactly what you might expect out of a food cart in the middle of New York, food in a silver aluminum platter that hits the spot after a day of touring the streets.

As demand for the simple fare grew, the food cart became five carts, and then then expanded to two restaurants in New York City, serving millions of customers. Now, through franchise developer Fransmart, it’s going worldwide.

“We had to go up to New York and meet with the founders and those involved from Fransmart about one year before our shop opened here,” Bui said. “The rest is history.”

At the single Dallas location, the fast-casual restaurant pays homage to The Halal Guys’ roots as a redone fast food restaurant where a majority of the orders are made to go at the register. There’s also plenty of inside and patio seating, maintaining the urban eating vibe.

Plans to expand continue, as a second North Texas location is set to open in November in Richardson.

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