The long awaited opening of The Halal Guys here at Penn has finally arrived. The Halal Guys opened their doors here in University City this past weekend, on Saturday, March 23.
The strong windchill did not stop students from waiting in line outside. People quickly filled the roped–off line down Chestnut Street and anxiously anticipated the grand opening at the bright, early hour of 11:00 a.m. The block was full of The Halal Guys fanatics and dotted with red and yellow balloons—passing cars would slow down to try and see what all the excitement was about.
The Grand Opening included free platters, buy–one–get–one–free deals, free shirts, and even face painting.
The opening of The Halal Guys in University City has a special meaning for managing partner Jung Ahn. Ahn explains, “I was a long–time fan of Halal Guys. When I was in my twenties and went up to New York and partied or hung out, at the end of the night, we went to Halal Guys.” Now, he's more than just a fan—he's an actual part of The Halal Guys' team.
Ahn explains that he "always used to bring [The Halal Guys' food] back from New York to friends." One day, he finally thought: “We gotta bring this to Philly.”
Ahn explains, “We would hear about UPenn and Drexel students who would go up to New York and get forty or fifty platters just to bring down for fundraisers and stuff like that. So, I thought University City would be a perfect fit.”
Their first Philadelphia restaurant opened in 2016 in Chinatown, and this is the second. A third location of The Halal Guys is set to open in a few months.
The late–night restaurant, situated on 39th and Chestnut, caters to college students, restaurant workers, and a late night crowd. Ahn says, “We want to cater to late night eats, also the restaurant and industry people.”
The menu includes both chicken and beef gyro sandwiches and platters. For those who cannot decide, there is the “combo” platter, which includes both chicken and beef gyro. The combo is known as the signature, most popular dish, but it has recently been competing with the falafel. This vegetarian option has become increasingly popular among non–vegetarians as well. “The combo platter is our signature and what Halal Guys is known for, but we come to find out more and more people prefer the vegetarian, the falafel. Even non–vegetarians prefer it and like it,” Ahn says. If you want to try it all, you can get the combo with a side of falafel.
Halal Guys is open until 4:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 2:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, making it the perfect place to stop on your way back from a night out for a quick bite to eat.