Is the epic street food battle of 53rd street finally over?! We received a tip via Twitter earlier this week that the Imposter Cart was no longer on the SW corner of 53rd and 6th, and sure enough yesterday we discovered a brand new Famous Halal Guys cart in its place. This should end the confusion that we’ve been covering for years, but the big question remains. What the hell happened to drive away the “Imposter Cart” (who it’s worth noting, placed ahead of the Famous Halal Guys cart in last year’s Street Meat Palooza.)
Archive for 'Famous Halal Guys on 53rd & 6th'
It’s been a long time coming. But Eater reported yesterday that the Famous Halal Guys, who are currently gearing up to be the Middle Eastern Chipotle in an international expansion, are suing the longtime imposter cart that sets up nearby (evidently they’re called The Halal Guys of New York – who knew?) Anybody who reads this site on a regular basis knows the difference between the competing carts. And while the imposter cart has gained a following of its own, there is no doubt still a large number of people waiting in line on the SW corner of 53rd and 6th during lunch thinking they’re tasting the “famous” chicken over rice. The lawsuit demands an unspecified amount of money and a name change. May we suggest “The Imposter Cart”?
Famous Halal Guys Going National!?: Huge street meat news out of the New York Times over the weekend about the most popular halal cart in Midtown (and winner of our very first Street Meat Palooza). The famous Halal Guys cart has signed a franchising deal with Fransmart, the company that helped Qdoba and Five Guys go national. Within a year they hope to be in "Los Angeles, along the East Coast, across Canada and in the Middle East... An early glimpse at what a Halal Guys franchise might look like will come next month when the first shop opens on 14th Street, just off Second Avenue."
Posted at 9:00 am, June 16th, 2014 | 4 Comments
For years we’ve been telling people to look for the logo’d plastic yellow bags as a way of distinguishing the Famous Halal Guys on 53rd & 6th from would be imposters. Well it looks like they’ve done us one better! We received an email from Luncher Stacey last week, who received this lovely tote bag along with her order of street meat. It matches the yellow color of their shirts and is given out (usually at night) for big orders. They’ve actually had them for about a year (how did we not know this!?), but will now sell them for a dollar if you ask for them specifically. Not only is it a cheap, environmental way of bringing your food back to the office, but you’ll also be the envy of all your friends.
The Famous Halal Guys know how to bring the heat. Ask for a little hot sauce and unless you can handle serious spice, you may find your mouth in flame long after lunch time. Last week when I was getting a chicken pita (from the Famous Halal Guys daytime spot on the SE Corner of 53rd & 6th, natch) I noticed for the first time ever that among the cans of soda and bottles of water that they also sell bottled mango lassis (lassies?) I typically don’t get drinks with my pita because I don’t drink soda (and I’m cheap) so maybe they’ve carried these for sometime. The drink itself is on the sweet side, but it’s the perfect antidote if you over do it on the spice.
Totally forgot to post this last week… when I was back in Midtown a few weeks ago I saw something I had never seen before in all the years I worked in Midtown. The lunchtime Famous Halal Guys Cart on the SE Corner of 53rd and 6th had a longer line than the “Imposter” Cart on the SW corner of 53rd and 6th. Even though the imposters proved themselves to be a delicious street food option in Street Meat Palooza 3, they still can’t deny that they are trying to trick people into thinking they are the same cart as the super famous cart that parks in that spot at night (they have even added logos to their yellow sweaters!) It makes me a tear up a bit to see that people are finally getting the message, and lining up on the SE corner in greater numbers. Now we have to get the word out to those people that the line-less cart on the NW corner of 52nd and 6th serves the exact same food as the famous cart on 53rd, with no wait! (Our work is never done…)
Speaking of Street Meat Palooza 3… last night’s episode of No Reservations was a follow up to his ultra popular food porn show from last year. He had cameos from famous chefs, and showed off a lot of expensive food… but the best part of the show for us was seeing our hero down a gyro pita alone on the street from the Halal Cart on the SW corner of 53rd and 6th (the one that pretends to be the famous cart that parks in the same spot at night.) The segment was titled “I Like It Dirty”, and Bourdain waxes poetic about street meat like only he can, likening waiting on the long line to waiting outside a methodone clinic “only more rewarding ultimately.” There’s no doubt that the lamb on pita tasted good, but we can’t help but wonder if he knows the whole story behind the cart he chose!
Check out the video after the jump…
Yesterday, as promised, I hit up the Famous Halal Guys and the Healthy Vegetarian Cart (both on 52nd btw. 6+7th) for a mashup platter and I discovered that the Vegetarian Cart is now sporting a 99% vegetarian food sign in recognition of their brand new grilled chicken lunch special. Yes, the vegetarians are now serving chicken…real chicken.
But before we get distracted by what to call a “vegetarian” cart that serves meat, let’s talk chili/street meat mashup…
Last week as I was studying the menu at the Healthy Vegetarian Food Cart, I noticed a familiar face–one of the guys from the Famous Halal Guys cart on 52nd and 6th (the former Shendy’s cart) was getting the hook up. I watched as the vegetarian guys topped off the Famous Halal guy’s chicken and rice platter with the “bean of the day” (it happened to be black eyed peas) and some sauteed veggies. Nice. While I can’t take credit for coming up with the Famous Halal Guys and Healthy Vegetarian Cart mashup, I can say that I support the idea and will be hitting up this combo myself soon. If you were to make your own Healthy Vegetarian + Famous Halal guys combo, what would it include?
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…