News & Events

Mayor Mike Duggan welcomes Norma G’s dine-in restaurant to Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood

September 10, 2018

  • First full-service, sit down restaurant in Jefferson-Chalmers area in nearly 30 years
  • Restaurant has created 15 jobs for local residents with more likely
  • Years of hard work, community support, collaboration make restaurant a reality

SEPT. 10, 2018 (DETROIT) – Mayor Mike Duggan, Councilman Andre Spivey and a host of funders and supporters joined Norma G’s owner Lester Gouvia at today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate Jefferson-Chalmers’ first full-service restaurant in nearly 30 years.

“Lester and Norma G’s are a perfect example of who Motor City Match was created for – Detroiters who have talent and a dream to open their own business and make a difference in our city,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.  “Not only will Norma G’s become a great neighborhood restaurant for the Jefferson Chalmers community, it will provide good jobs and help attract even more businesses to the area. Detroit needs more business owners like Lester.”

Gouvia’s Caribbean cuisine has grown in popularity, starting as a pop-up concept and later a wildly successful food truck. Located at 14628 E Jefferson Ave., Norma G’s is Gouvia’s first brick-and-mortar location.

“Opening this restaurant in Detroit has been a dream of mine,” said Gouvia. “Thanks to the support of my family, the city of Detroit, and so many funders, I have a permanent home in Jefferson-Chalmers. I hope my move here will inspire other entrepreneurs to join in the transformation and revitalization of this area.”

Supporting Gouvia’s opening of Norma G’s is a long list of Detroit organizations, including Jefferson East, Inc., and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Motor City Match program.

“Since 2006 Jefferson East had the goal of transforming our office into a neighborhood amenity that would create jobs and improve the quality of life in Jefferson-Chalmers. For years residents have been clamoring for a quality sit down restaurant that was elegant yet approachable,” said Josh Elling, executive director, Jefferson East, Inc. “We are thrilled to work with Lester, the City of Detroit and all our supporters to bring Norma G’s to Jefferson Chalmers. Now, instead of having to cross Alter or head downtown, residents can walk up the street for some of the best Caribbean food in the state.”

Norma G’s features authentic Caribbean style dishes inspired by Gouvia’s mother and his Caribbean roots. Gouvia credits Detroit’s diversity as a key factor in his decision to move to the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood. Since its official opening, Norma G’s has created jobs for 15 employees, all of which are local Detroit residents.

“Lester’s journey is an example of how our city comes together to support entrepreneurs and bring small business back into our neighborhoods,” said Andre Spivey, Detroit City Council Member. “We’re so proud of Lester’s achievement and his decision to make Jefferson-Chalmers Norma G’s permanent home.”

Norma G’s has received assistance from organizations such as Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Detroit Development Fund, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, DTE Energy Foundation, Invest Detroit, Jefferson East, Inc., JP Morgan Chase, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Motor City Match, ProsperUS Detroit and The Kresge Foundation.

 “Norma G’s is the latest in a string of Motor City Match awardees to open businesses throughout the city,” said Mike Rafferty, vice president, DEGC Small Business Services. “Through this program, neighborhoods are beginning to see retail density based on the goods and services residents want most. When Detroiters can shop locally, spending stays in the city, and that’s good for everyone.”

Visit Norma G’s during its hours of operation:

  • Tuesday to Thursday: 4:30 pm–12 am
  • Friday/Saturday: 4:30 pm–12:30 am
  • Sunday: 4:30 pm–12 am


About Norma G’s

Norma G’s Detroit is the opportunity to provide our Caribbean cuisine in a casual atmosphere with a level of service that transcends how we treat our guests when they visit our home. It is the next phase of our food concept—building our brand from the food truck to a full-service restaurant. Our goal is to create such an atmosphere, tasty authentic Caribbean cuisine, quality service and a good cocktail, that we become a “destination” to many. Norma G’s Detroit and its team has one goal in mind: treat our guests as if they are in our home—courteous, respectful and with warmth—and to treat each other alike. We offer our guests a comfortable tasty and thirst quenching experience. Call 313-290-2938, 313-499-1670,

About the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC)

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) is a non-profit organization that serves as the lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development initiatives in Detroit. Its Motor City Match program is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), that help grow Detroit’s small-business ecosystem. The next window for building and business owners to apply will be September 1, to October 1, 2018. Application details are available at

About Jefferson East, Inc. (JEI)

Jefferson East, Inc. (JEI), a placed-based, multi-service nonprofit and its real estate development partner, East Jefferson Development Corporation (EJDevCo) create inclusive neighborhoods along the east Jefferson corridor and adjoining five historic neighborhoods on Detroit’s east side. EJDevCo’s goal is to prevent displacement of lower income residents and long-term businesses through direct real estate development as neighborhoods grow. Revenues from EJDevCo are donated back to JEI to support clean, safe, connected and healthy neighborhood advocacy.