Bold flavors from Africa and the Caribbean with stewed meats so tender they fall off the bone, those are the landmarks of Godwin Ihentuge’s Yum Village.
“It was very important to me to build a community of yum,” says Ihentuge. “Being an Igbo man, American in decent, [I chose] a “village,” and “yum” because of what I was trying to create. "
Chef Ihentuge has had lots of practice making yummy dishes, starting when he was just 8 years old.
“I took it upon myself to try and make some lemon pepper chicken wings, and some pancakes - turned out horrible, but the moral of the story is don’t give up, keep going,”
All that hard work paid off, he initially opened up a food truck, before moving into his brick-and-mortar space on Woodward in 2019.
The restaurant is colorful with a big chalk wall for community posts. He also likes to use his restaurant to promote other businesses, like incubating food start-ups, or serving only brands by people of color for the bar.
The menu is a mix of family recipes and his own inventions. He loves taking various flavors and techniques from the African Diaspora and blending them in new ways.
“I like to say we are the beginning of the conversation of what Afro-Caribbean food can be,” says Ihentuge.
Popular dishes include their lemon pepper jerk chicken, the afro fries with a smokey savory yam stew over top, and their oxtail dinner. Some dishes, like the Suya Chicken and Waffles really showcase a variety of inspirations. The idea for chicken and waffles started in Harlem, and the suya chicken he makes is native to West Africa. The chicken is seasoned with a peanut dry rub, but instead of cooking it the traditional way, he fries it.
For the full story and more on the menu, watch the video above.
Yum Village has three locations, one in the News Center area of Detroit at Woodward and West Grand Boulevard, one on Agnes in West Village Detroit, and another in Cleveland.