Norma G's, neighborhood-owned and employed, opens in Jefferson-Chalmers

- "You get downsized in a corporate world and you have to figure out what to do and my family basically said do what you love doing," Lester Gouvia said.

He started with a food truck and his love of cooking, and with the help of Jefferson East and Detroit's Motor City Match Program, he's now helping to transform a once abandoned east side neighborhood. Norma G's specializes in Caribbean cuisine and is now officially open for business.

"They said we are glad you are here because we didn't have anything in this neighborhood," he said, adding that most people walk.

It didn't happen overnight.. Over the last few years, the city focused on filling the houses in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhoods and now the businesses, one storefront at a time.

"It took a decade, made it through the great recession but we are here today with a restaurant that's now employing dozens of people all from the neighborhood," said Josh Elling, executive director of Jefferson East.

Derek Scott says they've made sure price points were accessible -- no $25 burgers.

It's a proud moment for Lester Gouvia, who is excited about running a new restaurant, named after his mother, perfecting his diverse menu and serving his customers, who have desperately wanted an establishment willing to meet their needs.

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