This Afro-Caribbean restaurant’s fusion of flavors will have you saying “yum”

Bold flavors from Africa and the Caribbean with simmered meats so tender they fall off the bone are the hallmarks of Godwin Ihentuge’s Yum Village.

“Building a community of yum was very important to me,” says Ihentuge. “To be an Igbo man, American in decency, [I chose] a “village” and “yum” because of what I was trying to create. “

Chef Ihentuge has practiced a lot to prepare delicious dishes since he was only 8 years old.

“I took it upon myself to try to make lemon pepper chicken wings and pancakes – it turned out horrible, but the moral of the story is don’t give up, keep going.”

All that hard work paid off, he first opened a food truck, before moving into his brick and mortar space on Woodward in 2019.

The restaurant is colorful with a large chalk wall for community messages. He also enjoys using his restaurant to promote other businesses, such as incubating food start-ups or serving only people-of-color brands for the bar.

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The menu is a mix of family recipes and his own inventions. He enjoys taking various flavors and techniques from the African Diaspora and mixing them in new ways.

“I like to say we’re the start of the conversation about what Afro-Caribbean food can be,” says Ihentuge.

Popular dishes include their lemon pepper jerk chicken, afro fries with a smoky salty yam stew on top, and their oxtail dinner. Some dishes, like the Chicken Suya and the Waffles, really showcase a variety of inspirations. The idea of ​​chicken and waffles originated in Harlem, and the chicken suya he makes originated in West Africa. The chicken is seasoned with a dry peanut marinade, but instead of cooking it the traditional way, he fried it.

For the full story and more on the menu, watch the video above.

Yum Village has three locations, one in Detroit’s News Center neighborhood at Woodward and West Grand Boulevard, one on Agnes in West Village Detroit, and another in Cleveland.

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Michael M. Tomlin