Norma G's

Photo Credit: Mark Kurlyandchik

Ten Best: Experience Norma G's


Do you want to experience a free meal at one of the best restaurants that Metro Detroit has to offer?

The Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers / Detroit Free Press Top 10 Takeover offers you an opportunity to do just that. Enter for a chance to win TWO TICKETS to dinner at Norma G’s on July 30th, 2019. Be sure to enter no later than Noon on July 25th for an opportunity to bypass the long wait.

Need to hear a little more about the restaurant before you head out for a meal? Keep reading for a glance into this award-winning restaurant.

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It seemed like perfect timing: Caribbean- and Trinidadian-themed fine-dining restaurant Norma G’s came into the Jefferson Chalmers corridor soon after the area received its designation as a “National Treasure” from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

How can a neighborhood or a restaurant earn such a lofty title? That’s because there is endless potential to this waterfront neighborhood. It has one of the most essential characteristics a neighborhood needs in terms of its real estate: Location, location, location.

More importantly, Jefferson Chalmers has a warmth to it that is key to standing out within a larger city. There are Mom and Pop shops that sell worms for the busy fishermen at A.B. Ford park. There are beauty shops were men and women focus on self-care and conversation as much as getting their hair done. There are newcomers as well, such as Busted bra shop, that add an element of spirit to an already lively area.

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When the charismatic Lester Gouvia opened his restaurant along Jefferson Avenue in the fall of 2018, it seemed just the right moment to add something upscale to the up-and-coming area. The sit-down restaurant was elegant, colorful and brought so much love to its neighbors that it felt like Gouvia had always been there.

A word on Gouvia: His smile and personality are electric. He’s the kind of man that you meet once and immediately consider him a friend. He talks about his mother, his family and his heritage with a reverence that has an honesty and purity that seems to be missing in the rest of the world. After all, he named the restaurant after his mom, their heritage and how food and eating together makes you a family of sorts. He’s that kind of guy. 

More importantly, nothing has been handed to Gouvia, which makes him very Detroit. He has worked endless hours to open his restaurant, going through FoodLab, the culinary startup experiment that has brought Detroit some of its finest eateries. He has had luck and he has tasted failure. But he loves Detroit and its people, and it shows in how much he wants Norma G’s to be a reflection of the city, the neighborhood and its employees, who are pushing just as hard as Gouvia to make it work. 

If everything around Gouvia and Norma G’s sounds a tad emotional, it is because that is a true statement. Everyone at the restaurant wants you to have fun, to enjoy a good meal that nourishes you and that brings you an experience. 

A bit about the inside, because that also is essential to understanding the buzz about this place. It is saturated with sunny yellows, sunset reds and hot oranges. It makes you feel like you are on vacation and you’re surrounded with like-minded people who just want to relax, raise a toast to the weather and eat something spicy. It is welcoming, just like Gouvia. 

As much as Jefferson Chalmers itself is a national treasure, Gouvia and Norma G’s is quickly becoming one as well. Having it along Jefferson Avenue across from tony Grosse Pointe Park and into Detroit proper seems like a match made in food heaven, and the dishes served there certainly match that and then some.

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