From food truck to storefront, Caribbean restaurant Norma G's Cuisine opens in Jefferson-Chalmers

A taste of the Caribbean is coming to the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood.

Norma G's Cusine is slated to open its doors to the public today, Tuesday, Aug. 28. The restaurant has built a steady following while operating as a food truck these past few years. This is the first brick-and-mortar location for the business.

Lester Gouvia named the restaurant for his mother.

"The food we serve is the food I grew up eating and the recipes I was taught to cook by my mother in Trinidad," says Gouvia. "For me, Norma G's is an opportunity for me to expand the brand to the next phase, while making an investment, a commitment, to the Jefferson Chalmers community."

The menu includes such Caribbean favorites as coo-coo and callaloo, chicken pelau, jerk chicken, and curry goat. Other items include oxtail and jerk chicken sliders, mac and cheese, and Trinidad-style potato salad.

Norma G's occupies a 2,500-square-foot storefront. Jefferson East, Inc. owns the building and secured the funding to renovate the building, hiring Detroit firm Hamilton Anderson Associates as contractor.

Gouvia has taken advantage of Detroit's entrepreneurial support system on his path from food truck to storefront. He has worked with TechTown and its SWOT City program. Gouvia has received support from Motor City Match and Food Lab Detroit and was a finalist in the 2015 Hatch Detroit contest.

"I think Norma Gs is one of the first businesses in what I know is about to be a significant redevelopment of this area. More dining and entertainment and small-business development in the area will follow," Gouvia says.

"I look forward to sharing my fresh cuisine and gathering place with residents in the community and beyond."

Norma G's Cuisine is located at 14700 E. Jefferson Ave. in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.