Sunday, June 15, 2014

Coming Soon to Your Corner:The Halal Guys

File under: Great Entrepreneurship

By Alex Vadkul

Some empires are managed from a distance: in corner offices, from cellphones on beaches, under palm fronds while being fanned by servants.

Hesham Hegazy, the general manager of the Midtown street-food empire the Halal Guys, prefers sitting by a window at a Starbucks at West 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue, where night after night he can observe his street-cart workers as they serve platter after platter of chicken and rice for ever-replenishing lines of customers.

One recent evening, Mr. Hegazy, 54, wearing a traditional kufi, sat with a coffee at one of his regular tables, with two Halal Guys carts within sight across the way. He will sometimes sit there late into the night. “To watch the guys,” he said, gesturing to the scene.

Mr. Hegazy manages one of the longest-running and best-known food-cart businesses in New York City with a style best described as old-fashioned. He receives email but almost never responds to it, preferring to conduct business over the phone or in person at the coffee shop.

To proudly illustrate a story about the Halal Guys being the first halal cart to secure a trademark, he made a fast phone call in Arabic; moments later, a boyish-looking young man appeared at the table with a takeout bag bearing the logo as proof.


  1. Never been to New York, but keep hearing about this place from everyone I know who has. Look forward to trying it when they open up their stores.

    1. Halal food carts in NYC rock. You could eat off the floor. The food is okay, but the quality and sanitation is nearly perfect.

  2. If his employees are getting BigGov luv then no this is not "Great Entrepreneurship" it's just more crony capitalist crap.