The Milwaukee area’s first Halal Restaurant Week was so successful that some restaurants have added halal menu items permanently or expanded their offerings.

“To me, it’s just like a no-brainer,” said Stelio Kalkounos, managing partner of Five O’Clock Steakhouse on Milwaukee’s west side.

The increased sales and exposure during the week opened restaurateurs’ eyes to a market they could be serving.

Halal refers mainly to Muslim dietary laws and foods permissible for Muslims to eat. Primarily, meats have been processed humanely. An increasing number of Middle Eastern, Indian and other Asian restaurants already served halal menu items in and around Milwaukee, but the idea behind Halal Restaurant Week was to diversify the cuisines available to Muslim diners, organizer Bushra Zaibak said.

Eighteen restaurants took part in the event in July, and more than half decided to offer halal menu items permanently. Some are serving halal items certain days of the week; others, full time.

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