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Charminar Biryani Express Adds More Halal-Friendly Fast-Casual Dining to Midtown

Chicken 65, butter chicken, gulab jamun and more Indian dishes are ready for takeout or dining in at this new spot

Metal trays of biryani, chicken 65, and butter chicken at Charminar Biryani Express in the Midtown neighborhood of Detroit
Biryani, chicken 65, and butter chicken are just a few of the more than 100 menu items available at the new fast-casual Charminar Biryani Express in Midtown.
Nargis Rahman

Eve Dew has had Charminar Biryani House in Troy on her radar for quite some time. She’d heard about the South Asian restaurant’s’s specialties such as the butter chicken, chicken 65, and gulab jamun for quite some time. The trouble with getting to check the restaurant off on her bucket list — it’s just too far from her home in Romulus.

Good thing for her, the operators of the popular biryani restaurant have set up shop in Midtown with the opening of Charminar Biryani Express, just across the street from Wayne State University. Not exactly just around the corner from her home, but still more accessible for her and others looking to get their fix for Indian cuisine.

“I think it’s amazing especially right where the college is because I know a lot of college students need full meals,” she says.

Dew, along with a crowd of enthusiastic foodies were able to sample the new spot’s food during a soft launch in March. She tried that butter chicken she’s heard so much about, as well as chicken 65, and gulab jamun. Her favorite item was obviously the butter chicken and she says it was worth the drive to try the food.

Kay Ahmed, co-owner of Charminar Biryani House Express, says he’s long dreamed of opening this restaurant in the heart of the city.

“I pretty much grew up in Detroit and [have] been wanting to do business in Detroit for a very long time now and [when] the opportunity came along I decided to go for it,” he says.

Ahmed is also one of the co-owners of the original Troy location, which is more of a family-style restaurant. The restaurant has been open about five years, but he came on as a co-owner in December 2020.

Ahmed says he and his partners decided to open Charminar Biryani Express to serve as a dining option for the many Wayne State students and faculty, as well as for hospital workers from the nearby Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System looking for halal menu options. As such, the fast-casual spot offers students and frontline workers 15 percent off their meals. He says he also wanted to give customers who live closer to Detroit or Dearborn — which has a much larger concentration of halal dining options — an alternative to driving to Troy.

“We have a huge clientele at our Troy location that resides in the northern suburbs but work in Midtown,” says Ahmed. “Lots of customers also drive up to Troy to enjoy our food from the metro Detroit area, especially Dearborn.

“We’ll have a lot of students and employees and workers from all the other different organizations around here come in and they want to be able to come in and get out… but we’ll also have our full a la carte menu,” he says.

The new restaurant offers prepared entrees, appetizers, and sides that are ready for takeout. Among the more than 100 menu options to choose from, diners can find options such as butter chicken, chicken 65, and tandoori chicken, and a variety of vegan-friendly selections.

During Ramadan, Charminar Biryani Express is serving iftar boxes for $9.99 each for those looking for a quick meal to break their fast. Boxes will be available for pickup between 5:30 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. in Detroit, along with other options from the menu. Meanwhile, the Troy location is featuring an iftar buffet for $15.99 per person, offered from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Charminar Biryani Express is located at 111 W Warren Ave. in Detroit; hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit their Instagram page @charminarbiryanihouse.