Manaa Ali, owner of Mecca Halal Meat, shows off some of the product in his North Olden Avenue store. (Staff photo by Laura Pollack.)

Mecca Halal Meat at 1960 North Olden Ave., offers a service that many in the Ewing Township community may look for—fresh, halal meats.

The store is owned by Wafaa Sowilim and her husband, Manaa Ali, who originate from Egypt and currently reside in Monroe Township.

They began the work to start their store about six months ago, after a previous halal store at the location closed.

“There was another halal meat store before, which was successful at the beginning. However, the store closed down, so we decided to open Mecca Halal Meat,” Sowilim said.

Sowilim said she and Ali were looking to open a store to offer halal foods to the community, and jumped when they got the opportunity.

“We’ve always been looking around to try and find a place where it would be suitable to open a store for halal or kosher meat. This was a place we found that we knew we could open a store,” Sowilim said.

“There are people who need this sort of business around,” she added.

Sowilim said she prides her store on its commitment to quality meat that is prepared regularly on a farm, even though they are not part of a larger halal foods store chain.

When asked about what makes her store special, she said that the “meat is fresh, always fresh.”

Sowilim also spoke about the importance of fresh meat to the customer, as it provides a healthy alternative to stale meat that has a higher chance of being infected by bacteria. “Fresh meat is always more healthy to eat,” Sowilim said.

In reviews online, consumers have praised the store’s fresh food and quality customer service, along with commenting that the store allows them to receive groceries and special orders at all times.

Halal means “permissible” in Arabic. halal meat and other halal foods are those that have been certified to be permissible for consumption by Muslims.

Requirements for meat to be certified as halal include: the animal to be slaughtered must not be already dead; the animal must not be a pig; and all of the flowing blood must be allowed drain from the animal.

Within Ewing, Mecca Halal Meat strives to excel in its niche of serving quality meat, along with other cultural items from the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. In addition to halal meat, the store also carries international groceries, such as Indian, Pakistani, Egyptian and Lebanese products.

It also sells Eastern European, Arabic and Turkish items. Due to this variety of items, Sowilim does not believe she needs to expand the store yet. She said she believes that quality and selection is more important than quantity.

Sowilim said that Mecca Halal Meat gives members of the community an opportunity to experience other cultures through food, whether it be through Halal meat or the quality international groceries.

Mecca Halal Meat. 1960 North Olden Ave. Ext. Phone: (609) 882-1500. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m to 7 p.m.