Sudden shutters

Austin location of Middle Eastern restaurant chain mysteriously closes after a year

Austin location of Middle Eastern restaurant chain mysteriously closes

The Halal Guys
The Halal Guy's famous white sauce wasn't enough to save the Austin location. The Halal Guys/Facebook

UPDATE: A corporate representative from The Halal Guys issued a statement after publication of this article. "We've enjoyed serving the Austin community over the past year, but have recently closed our Austin area restaurant. As The Halal Guys continues to expand worldwide, we have learned with the help of analysis and market methodologies to identify successful trade areas and real estate for restaurant development. After careful consideration, the Austin location does not meet that criteria at this time. Thank you to all our local patrons in Austin who shared in our love for platters and hot sauce. Be on the lookout for more Texas locations coming soon."

The Halal Guys may have built a restaurant empire in New York, but the Austin outpost has closed after a little over a year in business. A representative from real estate agency Capital Leasing, Management, and Sales confirmed that the fast casual eatery closed about two weeks ago, although she didn’t have the exact date on file.

The 2915 Guadalupe St. store was the first Central Texas location of chain, which started as a hot dog cart in Manhattan in 1990. After switching to a menu of chicken, gyro meat, rice, and pita in 1992, the business took off, spurring a successful franchise operation with locations spreading across the U.S. and Southeast Asia.

In June 2017, the Austin franchise debuted in the location formerly occupied by I Luv Video. Initially, the entrance into the market caused some confusion with campus-area stalwart Halal Bros., which had originally operated as Halal Guys before changing its name in 2013.

It’s unknown whether competition with that more established restaurant played into the shutter. Oddly, a customer service rep from Halal Guys corporate office was unaware that the location had closed, although all info has been removed from the website. A sign on the door only says “store closed permanently” and the phone number has been changed to an unlisted number.

But the location did suffer mediocre ratings on Yelp, where it sits at three stars. Many of the reviewers complained about the proteins, saying they weren't up to the quality of the New York original.

Location might have also played a factor. The building is now completely vacant after neighboring shop I Luv Vintage closed in August.