Detroit – Full of flavor-packed food and colorful decor, Norma G's, a new restaurant on the east side of Detroit, whisks you away to the Caribbean.
"They go to the Caribbean and get what they think is Caribbean food, but they never go eat with the families that live in the communities around the hotels, and that is what I am trying to do. This is the food you would eat at a family's house," explained Norma G's owner, Lester Gouvia. He should know what they eat in the Caribbean, as he is originally from Trinidad.
Gouvia is also the head chef at Norma G's, and while he loves cooking, he wasn't always good at it.
"The first time I tried to cook for a girl, I failed. I guess that kind of gave me the impetus to try harder. Going home to visit my mom and my sister, who are great cooks... I opened my mouth one day and said, 'You know what, I'm trying to cook' and 'I am going to do this' and they said, 'OK' and they stopped cooking and said, 'You try,'" described Gouvia.
Gouvia first opened a catering company, and after doing a few pop-ups at St. CeCe's he opened a food truck. Eventually, in August of 2018, he opened his brick and mortar restaurant, Norma G's, in the Jefferson-Chalmers area of Detroit.
"The brand will always be Norma G's. It is a tribute to my mom," explained Gouvia. "All the things she's done and just the kind of cook she was, and taking simple things, as I've always said, and really just making good things from it."
While Gouvia comes from Trinidad, he serves food from all over the Caribbean, including classics like jerk chicken and a variety of curries. They also offer a significant number of vegan dishes, including a vegan Pelau, a rice dish, and Melongene, an eggplant marinara stew served over rice.
If you would like to try out Norma G’s, it is located at 14628 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit.