YumVillage Feeds Community with an Eye on the Next Generation

By: Karen Dybis | November 6, 2020

Photo Courtesy of YumVillage.

Your Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers and the Detroit Free Press are proud to once again team up to support our local restaurants with the Top 10 Takeout series, a celebration of the 2020 Top 10 Best New Restaurants of the Year.

We will be highlighting each of those restaurants as tickets to their respective Takeout event go on sale.

Everything a visitor needs to know about YumVillage can be summed up with its name – the menu is packed with naturally delicious flavors and, most importantly, the people who own and operate this beloved restaurant truly want to create a village around not only the food but the culture and community found there. 

The food served at YumVillage is key to its success. Its signature Afro-Caribbean dishes combine everything a great meal should have: color, texture, flavor and that special something chefs and food lovers know when they taste it – a kind of extra effort and love that makes a meal something more than its individual ingredients. It is tender in every sense of that word. 

Another thing about YumVillage is its food model. It put together three fast-growing concepts under its singular roof: Delivery, retail and quick casual. There is the catering arm as well, bringing its ample portions and fresh offerings to any size of party in Metro Detroit. You can order online as well, making sure you have the right spice level – mild, medium or as hot as you can withstand.

 But what also makes YumVillage so unique is that it also serves as a food incubator, helping other food-focused individuals learn the trade and, hopefully, start their own businesses through groups such as the Build Institute. This kind of workforce-development program plus YumVillage’s commitment to offer living wages are aimed at helping Detroit grow in real and substantial ways. 

But one of the most important parts of YumVillage is the people who work there, including owner Godwin Ihentuge. He has survived pretty much everything in recent months as a business owner and as an individual – the coronavirus shutdown, a significant car accident in July as well as the never-ending hard work keeping his doors open. To say he is a survivor is an understatement and then some. 

Throughout its all, Godwin’s mission has stayed true: He wants to feed Detroit, feed future food entrepreneurs with business success and feed the community where he lives and works with kindness and empathy. He truly lives by the African proverb: “You can go fast alone but you can go further together.”

All of those good deeds and smart moves are a great part of eating at YumVillage. But the reward for supporting Godwin and his efforts is really in the food. You may hear people rave about YumVillage’s corn cakes, lamb shanks and fried chickpeas for good reason: They contain flavors that become addictive to the point where you’ll drive across town to have them again. 

If you want take out, then YumVillage is there to serve. There’s grab-and-go kind of food, nearly overflowing the container and smelling so divine you’ll be tempted to pull over and eat it right there and then. The Jerk seasoning really does smell that good. 

But there’s also the grill kit and ready-to-make meals. For example, the country-style grill kit comes with marinated leg quarters that are smothered in that one-of-a-kind Jerk seasoning, plantains that are ripe and ready for the grill as well as a jar of house smoke and one authentic Alabama pecan wood log for your grill. When it comes from YumVillage, it has to taste right to be right, and Godwin wants its home chefs to get every nuance just so. 

So whether you’re there for the spice, the West African rice with its potent mix of tomatoes, garlic and onion or the fried chickpeas with their lip-licking sauce of ginger, garlic, curry and agave syrup, you will waddle out of the take-out line or from your kitchen with a happy palate. And you’ll have supported a world of people – that village that Godwin wants to see succeed.

Read more about the Detroit Free Press and Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Top 10 Takeout series and be sure to enter our giveaway with prizes including a private, virtual cooking class with the chef from this year’s Restaurant of the Year, Leila.