Afro-Caribbean food truck and soon-to-open restaurant Yum Village is ramping up service ahead of its anticipated opening in New Center. The restaurant helmed by chef Godwin Ihentuge began delivery-only service last week with its menu stuffed with jerk chicken and vegan ginger curry chickpeas available for order on apps including GrubHub and UberEats.
Ihentuge signed a lease at the former Atomic Chicken building at 6500 Woodward Ave. last fall with the goal of opening a fast-casual version of his two-year-old food truck. At the same time as the brick-and-mortar announcement, the chef also ran a successful Kickstarter to help fund the startup restaurant and support a culinary incubator program inside the business. The campaign ultimately surpassed its $25,000 goal.
Ihentuge tells Eater that Yum Village is still more than a month away from opening its New Center storefront to the public. The property is still undergoing aesthetic renovations such as the fabrication of new signage and an exterior mural. In the meantime, the chef plans to operate Yum Village a commissary kitchen with service through apps from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. “As we get closer to opening, we’ll open later and later until we finish [redesigning the building],” he says.
Yum Village’s online menu includes items like build-your-own bowls and sandwiches as well as an choices like maafe (a spicy vegan peanut stew), jollof rice, African-style cheesy bread, and warm bean salad. While meat eaters can fill up on jerk chicken or suya fried chicken, many of the choices are vegan and vegetarian. Once open, the Yum Village restaurant will also house a juice and smoothie bar.
Ihentuge is aiming to open the sit-down Yum Village sometime in March. Stay tuned for more updates as the project nears the finish line.