If you ask a Buffalo native if their city is considered Midwest or East Coast, they are more likely to say one or the other.
It’s hard to make a geographic claim to the East Coast, but it’s much easier to say that it has a lot of influence. Many native Buffalonians have parents or grandparents who grew up in the New York City area, and local colleges attract a steady stream of downstate students. Well, the university has a severe East Coast influence.
One of the best examples of this is the new Halal Feast Ó on Main Street in the University Heights district. The new halal spot has burgers, cheesesteaks and chicken sandwiches. But there are also Middle Eastern-inspired dishes like gyros, falafel and kofta. As you can imagine, everything is sourced and prepared according to Islamic law. Owner Sam Fahad has ties to similar restaurants in Queens and Halal Feast O will be the first of the Fast Causal franchise concept.
Our visit also offered the Asylum Burger ($6.50 sandwich only/$8.50 with fries and canned food). Pop (yes, pop)) and it was a pretty standard burger, great value for money. The lamb and chicken platter ($9) that we were also served was definitely the highlight. Flavorful, spicy and creamy yet still fresh thanks to the assorted crunchy vegetables. The first bite from these classic halal spot platters was like a fleeting trip to early morning New York. Sitting on the curb at 2am, I ravenously ate spicy halal food from a takeout container.
Speaking of early mornings and late nights, Halal Feast Ó only served soft drinks, but that’s a big change at this address. For decades, it was home to Third Base, an important hub in the college life of many past UB students. The old bar has been vacant for years, so Sam says he’s happy to give the place new life.
“Neighbors say it used to be a busy place,” he says. “They have been coming here for a while and have successful restaurants like Shango, Min Cafe, and Sato Ramen. We can get all kinds of different people involved.”
In describing the Halal Feast, Sam describes it in the same way he talks about (family-friendly) neighborhood spots and informal university institutions.
“You can come in your pajamas, or you can come dressed up,” he says. “No one will say, ‘That restaurant is too fancy for me.’ Everyone is welcome. If a student wants to come and relax a little, that’s fine. But we’ve divided the space into a dining area.” So you can enjoy dinner together as a family.”
Third Base has always been a gathering place for friends from New York City and Buffalo to have a drink. In some ways, the new Halal Feast Ó doubles downstate vibes and gives us something a little closer to the Big Apple.
“I think buffalo is changing a lot right now,” says Sam. “It’s on the verge of something and we’re here to make it even better.”
Opening hours at time of publication (subject to change): Sunday-Thursday 3pm-12am, Friday 3pm-2am, Saturday 12pm-2am
Halal Feast O
3264 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14214 • $$$$$
Halal Feast Ó is a fast casual Halal and Afghan fusion restaurant in University Heights, Buffalo. Read the article about opening[sm_anypost…[sm_anypost
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