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Local grill and hookah bar offer halal meals to Thunder players - and everybody

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Whether you are a Joe off the street or an NBA basketball star, ZamZam is there for you - halal, as well.
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WARR ACRES, Okla. -- Last year, an article appeared in the august Wall Street Journal that told of how several of the players on the Thunder Basketball Team of Oklahoma City had developed a fondness for halal food that is prepared in accordance with Muslim dietary laws.

Those requirements are similar to the ones that are used for foods that are deemed to be Kosher in accordance with Jewish traditions.

The article told of how Enes Kanter of the team ordered only halal foods while the team was on the road, and that in time several of the players, including Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had developed a fondness for some of those dishes and the teams food orders at the Halal establishments that prepared them increased accordingly.

Soon Kanter and his colleagues began to assign numbers to the halal places that were available in the places the team travelled to based on their collective preferences.

Enes Kanter of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team. (Bleacher Report)

After the Oklahoma City media reported on that story, one local restaurateur, Yousef El Yassin, who is the co-owner of the ZamZam Mediterranean Grill and Hookah Bar located on MacArthur Avenue off of 39th Street in Warr Acres (reviewed by this writer in 2014) decided to invite Kanter and his teammates to sample the halal food that is prepared at his eatery.

El Yassin, who displays the self assurance that is often found in self-made men, was of the opinion that the halal food he served would warrant a high number from Kanter and his teammates.

The resourceful El Yassin had an invitation prepared that was written in Turkish with the assistance of some of his patrons who were natives of Turkey. And it seemed that early this week that Mr. Kanter had taken Mr. El Yassin up on that invitation as a tall man with a mustache was present at ZamZam with another individual who was wearing a Thunder T-shirt.

In addition, a hairy figure was seen in the front seat of a car in the adjacent parking area that some patrons thought was Rumble, the mysterious creature who serves as the Thunder’s mascot.

But it was subsequently revealed that the customer in question was Kerem Kanter, the player’s brother, who was in town to attend a Thunder game and the creature in the car was in fact a large labrodoodle who was waiting patiently for his owner to finish his meal.

But the younger Kanter, who appeared to be as tall as his famous sibling, proved to be as unassuming and unpretentious as his brother as well.

He told of how he is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and plays on that schools basketball team, and that he had previously played with Turkey’s Olympic team.

ZamZam is located in Warr Acres, Oklahoma. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

The elder Kanter displayed patience at the Turkish Festival that was held in the Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City last year as people stood in a group waiting to take a selfie with him, and his brother was equally patient with those who wanted to speak to him at ZamZam.

Before he departed the younger Kanter said that his brother enjoys being a member of a team based in Oklahoma City, and that after visiting Oklahoma’s capitol city he can understand what that feeling is based on.

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About the Author

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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