A West African food truck from local pop-up marketing and catering outfit YumVillage is slated to roll into West Village on Friday. Company owner Godwin Ihentuge tells Eater he recently inherited his father’s food truck and intends to use it as a testing ground for a possible brick-and-mortar restaurant.
A chef and marketing expert, Ihentuge founded YumVillage back in 2012 as an extension of his private catering business. The company was developed as a culinary incubator that provided resources to people in the food industry while also helping them connect and learn from customers. YumVillage hosted monthly pop-ups showcasing a particular chef and actively helped build up that individual’s social media accounts. The company then provided clients with feedback collected from customer’s survey responses.
Still the YumVillage continued to evolve, and in 2016 transitioned to a private corporate event catering model. Ihentuge also began exploring more permanent restaurant projects including a West African and New Orleans-influenced North End restaurant called The Kenilworth Club. That restaurant received a grant last year through Motor City Match. However, the restaurant location ultimately did not work out, Ihentuge says.
The YumVillage food truck is a middle ground between his former culinary incubator and his vision for The Kenilworth Club. The menu will showcase Ihentuge’s culinary talent with dishes like suya shrimp and grits, jollof rice, West African burgers, and Caribbean jerk chicken and waffles. “I’m first generation Nigerian and I grew up eating this type of food,” he says of the dishes. The chef also plans to include some vegetarian meals. Items will be moderately priced with most dishes falling in the $5 to $10 range.
In the spirit of YumVillage, Ihentuge is using the food truck to market test in various neighborhoods for a full scale restaurant. “This really helps to get me into the community,” he says. “After the summer is over I’m going to decide if I want to settle down in the Live6 area or the Villages.”
Sponsored by West Village developer Banyan Investments, the YumVillage food truck will be parking at the neighborhood’s summer biergarten (1428 Van Dyke St.) weekly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through October 28 as well as during select events in the Live6 Detroit area around Livernois and McNichols. In August Ihentuge plans to host pop-up brunches at The Eastern events space in Eastern Market this August.
• YumVillage Website [Official]
• All Meals On Wheels Coverage [ED]