Abdul Elenani, founder of Ayat in Bay Ridge, is at the forefront of ushering in a new legacy for halal food in New York City. Even with more than five openings under his belt — the Palestinian Ayat in Bay Ridge in 2020; Al Badawi in Brooklyn Heights in fall 2021, Ayat in Sunset Park, Fatta Mano, also in Bay Ridge, in 2022, followed by a Staten Island location of Ayat in 2023 — he’s just getting started, with four more restaurants in the works. First up, a seafood restaurant on Staten Island, then a Manhattan location of Ayat in the East Village, followed by Ayat in Williamsburg, and a second Al Badawi heading to Somerville, New Jersey.
In a month, Elenani will open a Mediterranean seafood restaurant, Asmak, at 1816 Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island. Elenani says here, customers will pick their seafood, and decide how it’s prepared among a few choices listed on the menu, similar to Greek seafood restaurants that have found popularity in NYC. Expect complimentary garlic bread and a full alcohol-free cocktail bar. Asmak is just down the street from the latest location of Ayat, which has since spawned several locations all over New York City, most recently on Hyland Boulevard, also in Staten Island.
Three months from now, Elenani says he will debut his first Manhattan expansion — a new location of Ayat in the East Village, at 229 E. Seventh Street, at Avenue C.
Further ahead on the calendar, Elenani will open Ayat Williamsburg at 161 N. Seventh Street, near Bedford Avenue, with the second Al Badawi heading for Somerville, New Jersey.