One word describes Islamic dietary restrictions, which forbid pork, while the other comes from a culinary tradition that makes good use of lard. So what are the two doing together on a bright yellow awning on Main Street in South Paterson?
Since opening Halal Burrito in late March, Cindy, Cetin and Yasin Aral have gotten used to the question. Their restaurant is a California-style burrito shop with a Paterson twist, a healthful fast-food restaurant that caters to the Muslim population in the area. They've introduced burritos to halal eaters who've never had one before and also explained the concept of halal, which means "allowed" in Arabic, to other customers.
"Around here, it's such a unique thing, because there's nothing like this," Cindy said. "We felt that there was a need for something different in town."
This is pretty far from authentic Mexican food; no pork is used, nothing is fried and Yasin, who's in charge of the menu, draws from a number of cuisines to make his burritos, tacos, quesadillas and wraps. They're filled with chicken breast, ground beef, filet mignon or vegetables.