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halal cart price wars near queens center

bigjeff May 1, 2009 09:36 AM

right at the T-intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Queens Boulevard (across from the McDs there) is that small plaza which had a halal vendor. Now, there are 2 more and the vicious price wars are in full effect. $1.99 for lamb or chicken over rice or on pita; each cart has the same sign, the same deal, the same offer and the same dirty looks shooting across to each other whenever any of them have a customer. Anyone been?

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  1. el jefe RE: bigjeff May 1, 2009 11:14 AM

    Jeff, be adventurous and try it. It's not like they don't speak English. And what have you got to lose? $2? Or $8 if you try them all (there are 4 of them, not 3).

    Seriously though, they look like the standard halal carts you see all over. I wouldn't go out of my way to find these but if you happen to hungry when passing by I guess it's good value. This isn't my usual street food so I can't compare them to other carts, but I did try two of them and they were nothing special. But for $2 it wasn't a bad deal. I'm sure all 4 vendors are getting their food from the same supplier so there should be no difference in the taste or quality. All of them seemed friendly enough. I didn't see any "dirty looks".

    The price wars have been going on for at least a week. The original price was $3.99. This was crossed out and marked with a handwritten $2.99. Now they have pre-printed signs that say $1.99. I feel bad for these guys. There's not enough business for this many carts to make money at these prices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: el jefe
      bigjeff RE: el jefe May 1, 2009 11:38 AM

      ya it seems almost ridiculous; talked to one guy and he said the two carts in the middle are together although . . . that didn't really make sense either. if i got a gang together, it might be good to do a taste-off, one lamb and one chicken from each one but, agreed, I'm sure it is all quite similar and generic. funny.

    2. bigjeff RE: bigjeff May 17, 2009 04:29 PM

      tried the one closest to McDonald's, he would be parallel to woodhaven boulevard; the gyro was good, but it was pretty sparse, even for $1.99.

      then I tried one of the two trucks in the middle (joined together); I tried the one that is further west along queens boulevard; the chicken was very dry, but I asked for a dollar extra meat and for $2.99, it was a ton of food; lotta rice and salad, etc.

      still, the food was bad. cheap, but not very good.

      1. bigjeff RE: bigjeff Jun 25, 2009 10:57 PM

        just trying to be on top of this (and looking for dinner after a long run); for $1.99, what better than chicken over rice? I got it from the one on the left, in the middle pair, set further back. he said that on saturday, all the carts will go up in price to $4. I asked for extra salad and he hooked it up and I had a full container of ok rice, lotta lettuce, decent chicken (just warmed up), lotta hot sauce, light on the white sauce. tomatoes, griddled peppers and onions completed the meal.

        i been hitting these up randomly but they are pretty much all the same except the guy at the western end of the group (towards manhattan) served an extremely greasy to the point of not eating it sorta rice, topped with extremely oily gyro, and seemingly topped with the scrapings of the grill. it was gross. and the other guys usually have tough chicken, bad rice, and paltry servings. let's see who emerges victorious! they have plenty of patrons constantly and a fruit vendor who is there during the day now opens late into the night as well, at this major transportation hub in queens.

        the guy with his back to the mcdonald's was different from the guy I saw earlier but I've bought from the earlier guy; this guy seemed ok but his grill was totally clean, his gyros in neat dry disks on the side and no chicken seen; didn't bode well. however, he did have a sign for a $1.99 chicken kebab which he cooks raw kebabs, but he was sold out already. could be a secret winner!

        2 Replies
        1. re: bigjeff
          j
          jinglejangle RE: bigjeff Jun 26, 2009 07:08 AM

          I tried a falafel from the first guy when you walk from subway to mall on the left, his cart faces south. It was gross. I swear the sauce was mayo. Never again.

          1. re: jinglejangle
            bigjeff RE: jinglejangle Jun 26, 2009 07:47 AM

            i did see him emptying a huge food service container of some white substance into the squeeze bottles . . . . so what would be worse? industrial strength white sauce or that it was really mayo he was emptying right into the bottle? ya; that's rough.

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