Founded almost three decades ago by Mohammed Abouelenein, Abdelbaset Elsayed, and Ahmed Elsakaas, who all emigrated from Egypt to New York City, The Halal Guys started as a humble street food cart that has since amassed a fervent following of locals and tourists alike for its American halal cuisine. Famous for its chicken-and-rice platters, garlicky white sauce and gyro sandwiches, The Halal Guys made the jump from sidewalk stand to worldwide chain in 2014, signing with a franchise development group and launching more than 30 locations around the globe with hundreds more in the planning.
In late 2015, operating partner Paul Tran opened The Halal Guys’ first Southern California outpost in Costa Mesa and has been steadily adding stores across Orange County, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley; another branch of the eatery will debut in Tustin this summer and shops in Downtown Los Angeles and West Hollywood are due by the end of 2017.
In a franchise deal with Fransmart, known for building up Five Guys and Qdoba, Tran is committed to opening 50 franchised units from Santa Barbara to yes, San Diego. Eater confirmed that the company has begun to look in the area, particularly focusing on the neighborhoods of Downtown San Diego, Kearny Mesa, Carmel Mountain Ranch and Del Mar for sites to plant its fast-casual eateries which average 1,400-square-feet. There isn’t a timeline for when the first San Diego storefront will be completed, but a rep told Eater that new locations have a three to six month turnaround time.