The interior of another Halal Guys location. A restaurant is opening in the former Rocklands Barbeque space. Credit: Via Rabi Ullah

The Halal Guys is opening its first Maryland restaurant on Feb. 16.

The local outpost of the popular New York chain is opening at 11 a.m. in the Wintergreen Plaza shopping center on Rockville Pike. Tony Pizzola, director of operations for the franchise, said Monday the Rockville restaurant will be the first of several in the state for the chain, which started in 1990 as a food cart that drew heavy lines in New York City.

The chain is building out a restaurant in Columbia and plans for another in College Park. Pizzola said The Halal Guys is also looking at downtown Baltimore, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus and the Shady Grove area and elsewhere in Montgomery County as possible sites for its eateries.

“Wherever we find the need for it up and down the [I-]270 corridor in Montgomery County, that could be a focus of ours,” Pizzola said.

The Halal Guys restaurants serve a menu of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food including gyros, falafel and chicken that can be ordered with rice platters or in pita bread sandwiches. Each dish comes with a selection of toppings, such as jalapenos, olives, hummus and a signature tangy white sauce.

The restaurant, at 891A Rockville Pike, will seat 20 people. It’s replacing Rocklands Barbeque, which closed in April when its landlord didn’t renew the lease.


Rabi Ullah, the franchisee of the location, initially planned to open The Halal Guys in October, but Pizzola said a few construction challenges and the decision to not rush the opening led them to push the start of business to February.

The grand opening will feature giveaways and prizes, Pizzola said. After about a month, the location will start a catering service and will offer delivery through UberEats and other services.

The Halal Guys will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.