New halal-certified restaurant to open in East Commons


Bella Ross

The Halal Shack is set to replace Dickey’s in East Commons by fall 2019.

by Nakia Richardson, Staff Writer

The Halal Shack, a Mediterranean restaurant focused on Muslim dietary needs, is set to replace Dickey’s Barbecue in San Diego State’s East Commons beginning next fall.

Upon opening, The Halal Shack will become the first restaurant on campus that is specifically tailored to the dietary needs of the Muslim community.

Halal-certified food is food that’s considered acceptable for consumption according to the Quran’s guidelines. When it comes to eating meat, poultry or fish, the meat must be treated humanely before killing and must be ritually slaughtered, among other guidelines.

The menu features a build-it-yourself system with different bases such as rice, lettuce and “zoodle” bowls as well as a naan quesadilla and wrap option that can be customized with an array of toppings and sauces, according to The Halal Shack’s website. The shop also offers two vegetarian protein options, falafel and hummus, that can be added to any base.

SDSU Dining Services Director Paul Melchior said The Halal Shack originated in Albany, New York, with its original location being on the town’s State University of New York campus. In SDSU’s case, he said a group of students on campus had been pushing for more halal options on campus.

“They are very health-conscious (with) their menu, and it does satisfy the needs of the Muslims that were looking for halal-certified food,” Melchior said. “So, it does give them a destination.”

Finance junior Mo Afifii, who identifies as Muslim, said because many restaurants on SDSU’s campus and in San Diego are not halal, the best practice for Muslims is to look for alternative options. He said these kinds of difficulties in finding halal-certified foods have led many Muslims to cut out meat altogether.

“They either go for the salads or nothing,” Afifi said. “We mainly don’t eat pork, but when it comes to the halal meat, it’s being extra strict about it. It’s a huge proportion over here – at least of the Muslim proportion – who really don’t eat any meat.”

Afifi said he’s very excited to see the place is opening on campus as it is a much better and healthier option.

“(Halal-certified food is) not that different,” Afifi said. “It’s actually healthier to slaughter the animals that way. It’s way better than stunning the animals, and it’s more humane because the animals don’t suffer that much.”