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.
General manager Sonia Khan and assistant manager Michael Alcoser fill a customer’s order at a Brown’s Chicken & Pasta restaurant in Skokie on Friday. The restaurant offers all zabiha halal food except for the items listed on the menu board.
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.
Three Brown’s Chicken & Pasta stores in the Chicago area also offer halal items. A fourth opening this summer on Devon Avenue will offer an entire halal menu, owner Nasir Yaqoob said.
Nationwide, Outback Steakhouse uses halal lamb from New Zealand in its restaurants, and some Sizzler stores on the West Coast serve halal items.