The Halal Guys has finally opened in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Halal Guys/Facebook

While walking to downtown Berkeley BART last night, we noticed an unfamiliar glow coming from Center Street. The lights were on at 2126 Center St., and we could see several employees in yellow and red uniforms at work. We rubbed our eyes and wondered if it were really true, that the Berkeley location of The Halal Guys was actually, finally, indubitably open?!

The door to the restaurant was unlocked, so we walked in and a friendly employee behind the counter approached us as if to take our order.

“Are you… open?” we asked with bated breath as we eyed other Halal Guys staffers behind the counter prepare plates of food.

He smiled and said, “Yes…” We gasped before he continued, “… but just for delivery through Caviar for the next two weeks.”

It turns out that Caviar started delivery from the Berkeley Halal Guys this week, starting on Jan. 2. Delivery service is available from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. for lunch, and from 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner. According to Nosh reader Marlene Wilson, who also visited Halal Guys yesterday, an employee told her the restaurant would officially open on Jan. 26.

Backtracking a little, in case you’re confused about why this is such a big deal: Halal Guys is a popular New York-based chain that specializes in “American halal food.” Fans go crazy for its Middle Eastern sandwiches and platters, filled with beef gyro, falafel or chicken. Halal Guys has more than 200 locations in the U.S., Canada and Asia, but its West Coast invasion has been slow to come to the Bay Area. Many Berkeleyans have been impatient about the opening of this outpost, which Nosh first announced back in 2015.

So, all of you Nosh readers who’ve been emailing us wondering what is up with the Berkeley Halal Guys, the wait is over if you don’t mind shelling out the extra service and delivery fee to Caviar (and don’t mind waiting for over an hour for your food to be delivered to your door, as we did last night). If you want to pick up your gyro or falafel straight from the source, you’ll have to wait a couple more weeks.

Want to get the week’s Nosh stories in your inbox? Nosh Weekly is a free weekly email that will keep you up-to-date on all the delicious food, drink and restaurant news in the East Bay. Sign up here.

Sarah Han was the editor of Nosh from 2017 to 2021. Previously, she worked as an editor at The Bold Italic, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. In 2020, Sarah won SPJ NorCal's...