Campus Communications

Get Your Falafel Fix and More: The Halal Shack Adds to Wide Variety at North End Dining Scene

Bryan Terry, Assistant Director of Content Marketing & Communications
The Halal Shack's team prepares food for custom orders. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

October 24, 2023 — Craving falafel? Got a hankering for hummus? The Halal Shack is the latest addition to Marist’s on-campus dining options to satisfy your palate. 

Inspired by New York City street food, The Halal Shack opened on Oct. 4, and features a fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine with an American twist. 

It’s the newest dining option in the North End’s McCormick Hall, which also features Chef Jet Asian cuisine, Yella’s burgers, subs, and shakes, and a variety of options from York Street Market. All of these vendors are part of Marist’s new and enhanced food services collaboration with partner Gourmet Dining.

Image of Halal Shack bowls.
Bowls prepared by The Halal Shack in McCormick Hall. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

Offerings at The Halal Shack include rice bowls, salad bowls, and pitas, as well as creative takes on the more traditional dishes like the fries bowl and Naanarito (Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fillings and toppings wrapped in Naan bread, burrito style).

“Students, faculty and staff will enjoy fresh, scratch-made recipes with authentic flavor profiles,“ said Jamal Rasoully, founder and CEO of The Halal Shack.

Students who tried the food had positive reviews.

“The falafel is immaculate, and the sauces are all very unique and flavorful,” said Isabelle Liberos '24. “The pita bread with hummus was super good and it reminds me of Halal restaurants that I have had in Poughkeepsie.”

“I think having The Halal Shack is a great way to experience different styles of food without having to leave campus,” said Charlotte Green '24. “My personal favorite is the pita wrap.”

Image of Halal Shack team.
Workers from The Halal Shack's team. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

While the fare is fun and inventive, the vendor takes its role as a strictly Halal kitchen very seriously. Employees at The Halal Shack go through rigorous training and the food service area is maintained as to adhere to the cultural requirements of Halal food. 

“Every effort is made to ensure that everything coming off the line is accurate, Halal compliant and delicious,” said Rasoully.

Additionally, the vendor aims to source its food locally whenever possible.

“Gourmet and The Halal Shack partner with local purveyors to source our food,” said Dennis Lestrange, Vice President of Operations for The Compass Group, the parent company of Gourmet Dining. “Given the seasonality of the Mid-Hudson region, local sourcing is not always available, but we strive to incorporate as many products as possible that are locally- and responsibly-sourced.”

If you’re not familiar with Halal food, The Halal Shack describes it as akin to “Kosher, but with cheese.” “Halal,” an Arabic word translating to “permissible” in English, indicates that this food is sourced and prepared according to dietary guidelines that ensure its quality and the humane treatment of the animals it comes from.

“We heard from the surveys last spring that students were looking for more diverse food options on campus,” said Matt McMahon, Associate Dean of Operations and Facilities. “As part of the vision to introduce new dining concepts that provide distinctive experiences, promote student well-being, and contribute to a sense of belonging, The Halal Shack is an important enhancement to the dining program.”

In addition to The Halal Shack, there are lots of other delicious and nutritious options in the north end’s McCormick Hall. Here is some of what’s on offer:

  • Yella's: Whether you're in the mood for sandwiches, burgers, wings, or fries, you can find all of your deli and diner favorites at Yella's. Plus try their delicious shakes!
  • Chef Jet: Looking for Asian cuisine? At Chef Jet you can get noodle bowls with miso or pho broths, or rice bowls with teriyaki, Szechuan, sweet and sour, or orange ginger sauces.
  • York Street Market: From deli sandwiches to salads, soups, and acai bowls, York Street Market has a variety of tasty options for any time of day.

In addition to the new food options, Gourmet Dining also puts on fun themed events on campus. Up next is Taylor Swift Night on Oct. 27 in the main dining hall, with food and treats inspired by Swift’s song titles, such as the “Back to Decem-burger” and “Berry First Night” tarts for dessert. 

Marketing and Communications intern Jadyn Lance contributed to this story.

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