YumVillage is taking over El Club’s kitchen with ‘Afro-Caribbean bar food’

Jerk chicken nachos and curry chicken quesadillas will be on deck starting in April

Mar 29, 2023 at 12:03 pm
click to enlarge YumVillage owner and chef Godwin Ihentuge. - Randiah Camille Green
Randiah Camille Green
YumVillage owner and chef Godwin Ihentuge.

YumVillage is coming to Southwest Detroit by way of El Club starting April 1.

The Detroit-born Afro-Caribbean restaurant is taking over the music venue’s kitchen for the next six months.

You won’t find YumVillage’s popular rice bowls on offer, however. Instead, owner and chef Godwin Ihentuge is planning to trick out the menu with curry chicken cheese fries and jerk chicken nachos with a cheese sauce made of cheddar, chili peppers, and puréed peaches and apricots.

He’s calling the partnership “YumVillage Southwest x YumVillage PopParty” and promises us the menu is “insane and very delicious.”

“We’re doing more of like an Afro-Caribbean bar menu,” Ihentuge tells Metro Times. “We’re doing the fry bar, so you can still come and get our afro fries, and we’re doing quesadillas: curry chicken quesadillas, a plantain and bean quesadilla, and an akara quesadilla. It’s some of our same food, just tweaked differently for a bar setting. We broke it down to be more relatable, which we’ve been doing based on our pop-ups at Little Caesars Arena and Comerica Park.”

Ihentuge also plans to use El Club’s brick pizza oven to make YumVillage flatbreads like plantain, bean, and cheese on naan bread. Other menu items include AfroShawarma with yam hummus and smoked chicken, and suya dipped chicken burgers.

He’s offering samples to anyone who goes to El Club on Thursday, March 30.

It seems like every time we talk to Ihentuge, he’s getting ready to set up shop somewhere new. This is YumVillage’s fourth outpost including Detroit’s New Center flagship, West Village, and a Cleveland location.

On top of the three restaurants and the El Club kitchen, Yum Village will also have a concession stand at Comerica Park again this year.

“I’m driven by the want to not be in debt,” Ihentuge says about his nonstop business ventures. “I’ve been homeless before. I’ve been without power for six months. I’ve gone through some pretty trying times in my life and I don’t ever want to go through those things again. If it’s a matter of me having to do a little extra work or not doing recreational activities, then that’s what I do. I’ve been doing YumVillage as a business since 2013.”

He adds, “I just had a baby in December. My baby was born on Christmas Day, so I’m driven by that too.”

YumVillage will be at El Club until the end of September and Ihentuge says they may extend the partnership if things go well.

Location Details

El Club

4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit

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