In These Cold Times, Support Your Street Vendors


I know it’s freaking cold out there these days, but don’t let that deter you from the street meat!  Street Vendor business always drops off in the winter, and this year is no different.  I’ve already heard from a number of vendors that business has dropped as much as 60%, and it’s not just the cold… it’s the wind too.  So as tempting as it is to eat at whatever crappy chain is at the bottom of your building, get out there and help your favorite street vendor make it through the winter.

And just to show that I practice what I preach, I dragged Hagan (the 93 plates dude) to the 53rd & 6th St. cart today, which we proceeded to eat on the street in the freezing cold!  And from what I hear, we just missed the DOH…

Just got this email from Lunch’er “Christian”

Wanted to let you know that I was just at Halal Guys (the real ones, not the impostors across the street) and a DOH inspector was giving them a hard time. Going through his checklist and pointing out the various violations they had. They seemed pretty freaked by this news. I heard the guy comment on something being too grimy and then he was pointing out some issues behind their cart (could be similar to the Hot Dog Lady with boxes and storage, who knows). Did it deter me from getting lamb and rice? F no! ;)

It’s a shame the bitter cold doesn’t keep the DOH away! This happened a few hours after we were there, and Christian left before it was resolved. If anybody could confirm the cart is still out there, that would be awesome.


  • i was there around noon and everything seemed fine. but im sad that i didnt get to have one more “zach spotting” before you leave us for LA!

  • I’d only go outside for XPL now since it’s nearby. No thanks on 53/6 for now…

  • If the cart at 52nd & 7th is the same as 53rd & 6th (I believe you wrote this Zach), why ever go to the latter? Never a line at 52nd & 7th.

    I believe a taste test is in order before the move Zach. One more excuse for more street meat.

  • Ooops, I meant 53rd and 7th.

  • no line == product moves slower => freshness in question.

    long line == product moves quickly => less chance of food laying around for a while.

    I’d go for the long line as it also indicates repeat business, which means people aren’t getting sick from it and scared away from the cart.

  • The Shendy’s cart never has a line it seems. I haven’t gotten sick the last time. I might be more inclined to go there than 53rd/6th next time since my fav. cart finally wronged my order. lol. Will see. STanding out in the cold for 15 mins yesterday was a real bummer and even worse when they forgot to top me off with chicken.

  • The 53rd and 6th SE corner cart has a medium-sized line, so it’s always worth going there.

    Just make sure you see the plastic bags hanging to make sure it’s the right cart (while Halal Guys practically OWNS that spot, I have seen imposters). Also, this location makes the kofta!

  • actually, from my exp, slower business usually makes the workers more generous since they want to move the product so that it doesn’t spoil. the famous ones do know a thing or two about quality control despite being sketchy looking.

    also, if you go at odd times (like 11:30 or 200PM) during the winter, you might get hooked up as well.

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    Hey, it’s Christian, who reported to Zach about that DOH visit to Halal Guys. In response to Rinda’s comment about being there at noon and the cart seeming fine. I was there at 2pm when this was all going down. Unfortunately, my office moved down to 35th (I took the F up to get my fix) and wasn’t able to see if they were still there later in the day after the inspector failed them (his quote “this is why you’ve failed your inspection…”).

    Re: Deanlo’s comment about getting hooked up at those odd times. They only charged me $5 instead of $6 (not a huge discount) and loaded up my tray, but I wondered if that was because I was witnessing this whole debacle. I’m curious if they’re still there today as well.

    Ciao for now.

  • The lunch plate is always $5. Anyone paying $6 during lunch (I believe up until 4pm?) is getting ripped off.

    As for the imposter cart – that’s the SW one near the hotel. The real and famous one does not appear in that location until after 7pm. The SE one during lunch near CBS Building and the Shendy’s cart (bought by 53/6 Halal Guys so you will see the same yellow bags and gear) on 52nd are legit. They also have another cart on 53rd and 7th so that’s 3 carts during lunch.

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    Yes, I’m aware of which cart is the Impostor Cart and which is Halal Guys, and when they do their shift switch on the S/W side of 53rd and 6th (around 7 or 8pm if I recall). This was on the S/E side of 53rd and 6th at 2pm and the yellow bags were plentiful.

    I actually prefer the Impostors and am used to paying $5/platter. Yesterday, the Halal Guy said “just give me $5 instead of $6″. Which was odd. I figured they raised the price, which the Impostors did at one point too before returning it to the normal $5.

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    I went to Shendy’s yesterday for lunch. Never a line and the food isn’t that much a diff from the famous guys. Didn’t see Zach tho. Although I did see him at the food court where Sophie’s Cuban is on 3rd!! I even got a pic of him and his baby. Awkward pose by Z though unfortunately.

  • After a certain hour, the price is a dollar more at the Halal Guys cart. Maybe that hour is 2:00.

    I’ve been going to the Shendy’s “franchisee” of theirs lately because there’s no line. I go at normal lunch hours, so freshness isn’t an issue. I can see the point of not wanting to have the lamb if it’s been soaking in its own grease for hours due to no demand, but that’s really not something I personally concern myself with.

    Plus, once I got to put my own hot sauce on my platter.

  • Most unusual – and not sure if it has anything to do with DOH poking around – but unless I am mistaken, the 53rd and 6th SE guys are at Shendy’s usual spot today. Yellow bags and all.

    Or has Shendy’s been absorbed by the 53rd and 6th guys?

    Something weird is going down.

  • Yes, Shendys has been absorbed. theres 3 Halal Guys locations now, 53/6th, 52/7th, 53rd/7. Whew thats a lot of lamb !

  • I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten crowded yet since it’s been announced last month.

    Good thign though. The rest of you stay at the SE 53rd & 6th lunch cart. Hell, pretend it’s another imposter cart. lol. More Shendy’s for the rest of us.

  • I totally would have gone to Shendy’s yesterday, but I was taking that dude from out of town (hagan). So obviously he wanted to eat the “original” daytime cart.

  • Is there anywhere you can see inspection results for carts? The DOH website only has regular restaurant scores.

  • RE: “long line == product moves quickly => less chance of food laying around for a while” per Professor Prato.

    Brilliant observation, and I am indeed indebetted to you for that advice.

    Adam, believe me, I will NEVAH eat any street food until I have consulted with your latest revelations.

    You, sir, are a walking Wikipedia, or whatever.

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