Carasai Ihentuge, a Detroit man, recently opened the first Black-owned business on Cleveland State University’s campus (CSU).
“This is the first Black-owned business on Cleveland State’s campus. So, it’s a huge deal for myself and the community as well,” Ihentuge said of his restaurant, known as YumVillage, according to spectrumnews1. The restaurant serves both African and Caribbean cuisines.
According to him, “starting something like this kind of rubs the shoulders and makes someone else of our background to want to do something similar.”
Ihentuge started cooking at a very young age, where he did in-house cooking with his mother, father and brothers. “So, it comes from a long background,” he revealed.
He said that since he started his restaurant business, it has been embraced by a multitude of people, particularly those of African and Caribbean backgrounds. He also added that the restaurant has gotten a good response from the international students at CSU.
“There’s a lot of Cleveland State basketball players and lacrosse players from international descent who love our food,” Ihentuge told Cleveland19.com.
His business got a great deal of attention thanks to the help of a new initiative created by Destination Cleveland, the International Restaurant Passport. Destination Cleveland featured him after creating a database of restaurants operating in the Cleveland area.
“Once you go to thisiscleveland.com/passport, you can sign up for the International Restaurant Passport. And, once you’re here, you’ll see the 17 different restaurants that are included,” said Jen Brasdovich, public relations manager for Destination Cleveland.
Serving African and Caribbean food, Ihentuge said, is to ensure that his culture was represented in Cleveland. A big part of the African and Caribbean culture is giving back to society. Ihentuge donates leftover food to the Cleveland food bank.
“We don’t want to throw away good food… we’re donating food that someone else can benefit from and it’s also sustenance,” said Ihentuge. “You’re not just giving them something that’s just processed, you’re giving them a good value.”