NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> The board of supervisors on July 14 granted conditional use approvals for two new eateries at the Village at Newtown Shopping Center.
The Halal Guys, specializing in authentic American Halal food, including chicken and beef gyros and falafel platters, will open at the former Melt Shop location, which closed its doors during the pandemic.
And Five Guys, serving handcrafted burgers, fresh cut fries and hand-spun shakes, will open at the former SaladWorks site at the far end of the shopping center across from Bank of America.
The Halal Guys will operate out of the 1600 square foot space formerly home to the Melt Shop. It will include up to 18 indoor seats, representing a reduction from the Melt Shop’s 24 seats.
“This is obviously a food group that is not otherwise represented in Newtown. It offers a good bit of diversity and a new cuisine, a new option for residents,” said Attorney Joe Blackburn.
Halal Guys started as a street cart on the streets of New York City. It has since grown into a global icon known as the largest American halal street food concept in the world.
The food cart was first parked on the corner of 53rd and 6th Avenue in 1990 by three like-minded men from Egypt who came to America in search of a better life.
In 2014, The Halal Guys began expanding its authentic halal cuisine from the food cart into brick and mortar restaurants. Today the Halal Guys operates more than 90 locations within the United States, Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
This would be the first location in Bucks County for the Halal Guys, which also has eateries in King of Prussia and Philadelphia and more than 400 locations throughout the nation.
“I’m very pleased we have such a diverse selection of restaurants in Newtown,” said Supervisor David Oxley. “I have sampled Halal food before. It is quite fantastic. I’m excited for it.”
The 2300 square foot Five Guys eatery will include 23 indoor seats along with 10 additional seats on an outdoor veranda overlooking Eagle Road.
“If not identical, it will be very similar to the former operation at Saladworks,” said Blackburn of the fit out of the eatery. “There will be some flow differences, but use size and intensity would be all one in the same.”
Five Guys will operate with a morning and an evening shift with no more than eight employees per shift. It will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
This will be the sixth Five Guys location in Bucks County. The chain also has locations in Langhorne, Feasterville, Warminster, Doylestown and Quakertown
Five Guys is a family-owned and operated franchise restaurant group that focuses on serving high-quality burgers, fresh cut fries and shakes. The eatery was established in 1986 in Arlington, Va. In 2003, Five Guys opened its first franchised location. Today it has 1,600 locations worldwide.
According to Gene Snyder, the director of operations for Five Guys, the eatery’s founders Jerry and Janie Murrell gave their five sons a choice, “Start a business or go to college?” The business route won and the family opened the first Five Guys – named after the five brothers.
Among the eatery’s fans is former President Barack Obama who has visited locations in the D.C. area on multiple occasions, ordering the same thing: a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeño peppers, and mustard.
“If it’s good for the leaders of the country I guess it’s good for Newtown residents,” said Supervisors Chairman Phil Calabro.
With both conditional uses, Blackburn said there would be no change in the allowable restaurant percentage approved for the shopping center.
“We raised it with Chop’t to 31.18 percent on a site-wide basis where 45 percent is allowed,” said Blackburn. “So there will be no change with these applications to the 31.18 percent.”
Other eateries approved by the township and opening soon are Chop’t, which will serve fresh salads and salad bowls marketed as global street food, and Bomba Tacos and Rum, which will offer a fixed taco-based menu, soups, salads and drinks. Menu options will include fillings such as blackened fish, smoked BBQ pork and chipotle mushrooms, plus guacamole, rice bowls, tortas and sides like chile-lime cucumbers and yucca fries.
Both eateries will be opening in a new section of the shopping center adjacent to McCaffrey’s Food Market. Chop’t will open next to Ulta while Bomba will open its doors between Iron Hill Brewery and Mod Pizza.