Black-Owned Businesses: Food Truck Edition
It's Black History Month which is a great time to discuss black-owned food trucks here in Detroit and the greater metropolitan area. We have curated a list of some of our favorite black entrepreneurs in the food truck industry. We know this is not complete, so please give this a share and contribute to the list by commenting with your own suggestions.
Yum Village: Chef Godwin
By far one of the best places to eat in Detroit, located right on Woodward in Midtown, Yum Village specializes in delicious Afro-Caribbean cuisine. A crowd favorite is Jollof Rice with Halal Jerk Chicken. For a non-meat option, vegetarian patrons will love the freshly fried Akara or Maafe stew. Chef Godwin moved into his restaurant back in early 2019, but before that made a name for himself operating out of his food truck. Fun fact: the food truck was originally his father's, making Godwin a second-generation food truck entrepreneur!
You can support the team at Yum Village by placing an order through their website for carry-out or delivery. In addition to meals, Yum Village sells their signature spices and cool swag, including our favorite "Eat Jollof Rice" shirt.
Food aside, Chef Godwin is a notable community leader. Putting himself at the forefront of initiatives like Michigan's One Fair Wage, advocating for a raised minimum wage and most recently a 'Pay it Forward' program aimed at supporting minority-owned businesses in Detroit, along with providing fresh-cooked meals to those who are most at risk.
Grillz on Wheelz: Chef Brian
Brian started catering under the name Grillz on Wheels over a decade ago. While maintaining his job in the auto industry, he expanded to a food truck in the spring of 2014. Brain and team quickly made a name for themselves downtown at Campus Martius where patrons flocked for their Steak & Cheese Po'boy. With a spiffy new paint job, Grillz on Wheels plans to operate this spring at neighborhoods through Metro Detroit. They are also available for private bookings, like weddings, graduation parties, birthday parties and corporate lunches.
Norma G's: Chef Lester
Detroit's favorite 'Jerk'... chicken, that is! In 2015, Chef Lester launched Norma G's food truck. The menu is inspired by his Trinidadian mother. The authentic cuisine gives Detroit's a taste of real deal Caribbean comfort food. In 2018, after years of hard work, Chef Lester opened the doors to his brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood of Detroit.
After a challenging year, Chef Lester is reopening his restaurant to dining. The team takes safety extremely seriously, which is reassuring amidst times like these. In addition to opening up at 25% capacity, Norma G's also offers outdoor seating in their tented area, along with delivery.
For a first visit, you can never go wrong with the delicious Jerk Chicken. For subsequent visits, definitely try out some Oxtail or Red Snapper. Vegan dishes are always available as well and they do not skimp on the flavor! Norma G's also offers out of this world libations inspired by the islands. Take a sip of sunshine with a Tequila Sunrise or their signature 'Time to Tiki' cocktail. Through the month of February (and maybe longer), Norma G's will be hosting live music for patrons on Fridays & Saturdays. Music will be performed by many talented musicians including Detroit local, King Mellowman.
Junk Food & Friends: KaToya
The Junk Food & Friends truck is no ordinary ice cream truck. One might even call this dessert oasis on wheels a SUPER truck! Born and raised in Detroit, Chef KaToya has been elevating the ice cream truck game ever since her tires hit the pavement. In 2017, they expanded their operation to include Eastpointe & Harper Woods. The team makes a huge emphasis on customer service and cleanliness. Local comes first for Chef KaToya who proudly sells Michigan Made ice cream.
You can support Junk Food & Friends by booking them for your next event. The truck is a huge hit at birthday parties, grad parties, community events and corporate lunches. When you go to visit, try a hand-spun milkshake, slush or their signature dish, the "Fat Boi." There is even a vegan/gluten-free option with the Italian Water Ice which is sure to cool you down on a hot summer day.
Cynt-Sational Eats: Chef Cynthia
Putting health and wellness at the forefront of her mission, Chef Cynthia has been making a name for herself since 2013. Starting with her iconic popcorn, Chef Cynthia has trailblazed her way from farmer's markets to Whole Foods Markets. In 2019, Chef Cynthia launched a food truck specializing in vegan burritos and tacos. Chef Cynthia is a beloved vendor at Eastern Market and you will be sure to find her there with her truck and/or popcorn. A truly family run business, you will likely encounter Cynthia's sons who help out on weekends.
Everything that Chef Cynthia creates is homemade, vegan and free of GMOs. The aptly named 'Detroit Mix' is made with olive oil, nutritional yeast, vinegar powder, dill weed, pink Himalayan sea salt and organic spices, definitely a hometown favorite. The only hard part will be not eating a whole bag in one sitting! Once you make it to the food truck, you have to try the vegan Burrito made with black beans, organic cilantro rice, onions, guacamole and salsa.
Perhaps the easiest way to give patronage to this all-star team in the Detroit food scene is to buy their delicious but healthy popcorn. As alluded to, Cynt-Sational popcorn can be purchased at Whole Foods Markets in Detroit, Birmingham and West Bloomfield. In addition, retailers in Detroit like Sweet Potato Sensations, Eastern Market Brewery, the Eastern Market and Zerbos in Plymouth all carry Cynt-Sational popcorn. When springtime finally makes it to Michigan, you will likely see the food truck parked at Campus Martius or Eastern Market frequently.
The Lobster Food Truck: Chef Nick & Kathym
This family operation has taken the Detroit area by storm since rolling out their truck in 2018. After gaining experience and prowess as a Chef de' cuisine in Atlanta and South Florida, Chef Nick decided to go into business with his Aunt Kathym here in Michigan. Since then this seafood fare food truck has achieved many accolades in a short period of time! With rankings from local press like Click on Detroit, Fox 2 News Detroit, WXYZ Channel 7 and several more, it's easy to see why there is such a buzz revolving around this family-owned operation. Throughout 2020, the truck could be found in various parking lots through metro Detroit. With long lines of cars for their food truck drive-through, the Lobster Food Truck kept patrons coming back for more! The team has plans to open a brick-and-mortar sometime in 2021.
Hands down the Hot Lobster Roll is a must-have for first-time patrons. Made with Maine Lobster smothered in garlic butter and topped with chives, this sandwich will forever hold a place in your heart. Another decadent dish to devour is their delicious Lobster Mac-N-Cheese.
The Lobster Food Truck frequents many of the local festivals, in addition to their weekday pop-ups. However, if you want this tantalizing truck all to yourself, the Lobster Food Truck is also available for private bookings. If you are planning a wedding, graduation party or other gathering check out their website for how to make your booking.
Facebook & Instagram: @TheLobsterfoodtruck
Detroit Mini Donut: Karen Hudson & Karla Willis
This success story of 2 women from Detroit started in 2014 when the two got their first trailer, on somewhat of a whim. With a delicious product and the hustle that Detroiters are known for, the Detroit Mini Donut brand became a quick favorite throughout the area. These tasty treats never go out of season and crew runs throughout the year. You can get your hand on some Detroit Mini Donuts by placing an order online for pick-up at their location on Grand River Ave in Detroit. The trailer also frequents different neighborhoods and events throughout the region, check out their website to see their schedule.
There is no such thing as a wrong choice when it comes to these donuts but it is highly recommended that you try the cinnamon sugar option. It is completely acceptable to order donuts by the bucket but if you do have the willpower to resist, Detroit Mini Donut also offers a small bag portion for just $5. The trailer constantly makes fresh batches, so your tiny donuts are squishy and warm when you receive them. When in season, Detroit Mini Donut also offers refreshing lemonade in generous portions! If you have a graduation party coming up or a birthday celebration, you will want to have the team out with the trailer or with their catering setup.
Pick Up Address:
Beans & Cornbread Food Truck: Patrick Coleman
This very highly acclaimed soul food restaurant in Southfield opened its doors over 20 years ago. A highly sought-out destination for foodies, they have had a long list of patrons, including celebrities like Barry Sanders, Stevie Wonder, Matthew Stafford, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and many more. Beans & Cornbread has consistently been a top pick since 1999 when they were first voted Best Soul Food in Detroit. In 2016, the restaurant expanded its business by rolling out the Beans & Cornbread food truck.
After checking out the menu, you might want to schedule multiple visits. For our fish friends, you can't go wrong with the perfectly fried catfish plate. If you are more of a land lover the BBQ Rib Tips would be a supreme selection. All plates are served with your choices of two sides, such as Mac & Cheese, Black-Eyed Peas, Collards Greens and so many more options! Beans & Cornbread is available for pick-up at their location. They also take event requests for gatherings like weddings, graduation parties, corporate lunches and more.
Fork in Nigeria: Chef Prej Iroegbu
One of the newest trucks on the scene is the Fork in Nigeria food truck. Launching in 2020, Chef Prej brings our region a taste of his hometown of Isuikwuato, Nigeria. A melting pot of culture and heritage, Chef Prej acknowledges that his cuisine is only a small portion of what is available in the abundantly diverse lands of Nigeria.
You will find Fork in Nigeria located on Livernois Ave, between Outer Drive & Eight Mile Rd. For a true taste of authenticity, we recommend the Egusi Soup and Pounded Yam meal. The base begins with ground melon seeds and fish stock, accompanied by leafy vegetables, pounded yam and your choice of meat. There are plenty of vegan options too, including the Cassava Leaf Strew.
The truck is open from 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM for
carry-out and delivery.
Food Truck Address:
The Turkey Grill: George Lyles
A staple of Detroit for over 20 years the Turkey Grill has been serving up an array of tasty turkey items for takeout, in New Center, on Woodward Ave. Recently, they have also expanded to a food truck. Perhaps the most popular selection is their Famous Turkey Burger, perfect charred on a sesame bun with your choice of American or swiss cheese. The Turkey Grill is also a great option for holidays and parties. Everything is available through their website for pick-up.
Comfort Cafe: Ysahai Martin
In 2016, the self-proclaimed foodie Ysahai Martin took her ambition to the streets with her stunning Comfort Cafe food truck. The menu at Comfort Cafe pays tribute to iconic landmarks throughout Detroit. For example, their all-beef Coney Dogs are called, The Belle Isle. At the moment, the Comfort Cafe is temporarily closed but we do hope to see the truck on the streets of Detroit soon.
So there you have it! Did your favorite make the list? Let us know!