Menus Increasingly Cater to the Needs of Muslim Customers

April 24, 2006

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On April 24, 2006 the Chicago Sun-Times reported, "Practicing Muslims who have a craving for a burger or hot dog can't just go to any restaurant.

They have to make sure the meat they're eating is zabiha halal, or prepared according to Islamic custom.

Until recently, the restaurants where they could be assured of this were mostly mom-and-pop operations serving their native dishes.

But increasingly, fast-food restaurants are meeting the needs of Muslim diners with Western tastes by offering menu items that are halal-certified.

Earlier this month, a KFC restaurant in Rogers Park began offering halal chicken. Store owner Afzal Lokhandwala also runs a halal KFC in Lombard that, when it opened in 2003, was the first of its kind in the nation, according to a KFC spokeswoman... 'Halal food was considered even just a few years ago as being primarily ethnic, back-home, comfort food,' said Shahed Amanullah, 38, an MBA student in Washington, D.C., who runs the Web site, which tracks halal restaurants and grocery stores around the world... When Amanullah started the Web site in 1999, he listed about 200 halal restaurants in the United States, 20 of those in the Chicago area. He now counts 2,500 nationwide and more than 100 in the Chicago area, among them Chinese, Italian and pizza eateries."