Louisiana Creole Gumbo to Move and Expand in Detroit’s Eastern Market

One of Detroit’s oldest Black-owned restaurants, Louisiana Creole Gumbo, which offers authentic New Orleans cooking and old-style Southern dishes, is moving and expanding two blocks from its original location along Gratiot Avenue in Eastern Market.
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The new Louisiana Creole Gumbo location will be housed in an Art Deco building originally built in 1933 as a full-service service station. // Rendering courtesy of Louisiana Creole Gumbo

One of Detroit’s oldest Black-owned restaurants, Louisiana Creole Gumbo, which offers authentic New Orleans cooking and old-style Southern dishes, is moving and expanding two blocks from its original location along Gratiot Avenue in Eastern Market.

Representing a $1.5-million investment, Joe Spencer, owner of Louisiana Creole Gumbo, says the new restaurant will include sit-down seating, two outdoor patios, a tasting kitchen, and on-site parking. The restaurant will operate with a liquor license.

“We had plans of growing our restaurant in its current location,” says Spencer, of the 1,400-square-foot space. “But now we can expand upon our vision and bring a new culinary experience to the city.”

The restaurant’s new location, at 2380 Gratiot Ave., will be housed in a 4,864-square-foot Art Deco building built in 1933 at the corner of Gratiot and Joseph Campau Ave. The building originally was a full-service service station. It will open in spring 2024.

Established in 1970, Louisiana Creole Gumbo offers authentic Creole and Southern fare such as an array of gumbo, jambalaya, and red bean dishes, along with southern classics like fried catfish, baked chicken, po’boy sandwiches, combos, and side dishes that include candied yams, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread muffins.

Desserts range from 7up pound cake, peach pound cake, peach cobbler, banana pudding, Mississippi mud cake, and strawberry banana pudding.

With the support of the city of Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corp., and Invest Detroit, Louisiana Creole Gumbo’s new space was designed by Beverly Hannah-Jones, CEO and architectural principal of Hannah Jones Associates in Detroit.

“I am excited about Joe’s plans to expand his restaurant, and that it will remain an anchor for the Eastern Market area,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Louisiana Creole Gumbo has such a rich culinary history in our city and is a perfect example of a Detroit business that turned a Motor City Match grant they received in 2016 into an economic opportunity to grow their business, create new jobs, and provide delicious food. With that funding, they expanded their business in Northwest Detroit, and now I am happy they will serve as the gateway to Eastern Market.”

Spencer completed several programs through SWOT City at TechTown, Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 small-businesses program, and secured additional financing through Invest Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corp., Motor City Match, and NEIdeas.

“Invest Detroit is thrilled to support Joe and Louisiana Creole Gumbo as they move into their new space,” says Jason Barnett, senior vice president, lending at Invest Detroit. “It’s amazing to see how the LCG’s brand has grown, and we are excited to be part of their continued growth.”

Louisiana Creole Gumbo’s journey began five decades ago when Joseph Stafford and his wife, Margarine, brought Bayou-born recipes to Detroit. Over time, Spencer, his family, and partners, acquired the company.

With the continued guidance and mentorship Stafford provided to Spencer in the kitchen and out. Spencer was able to grow the Louisiana Creole Gumbo franchise.

The last meal at its current Gratiot location will be served on Nov. 28. Until the new restaurant opens next spring, Louisiana Creole Gumbo will serve food from their Commissary Kitchen at the new location starting Dec. 5.

Louisiana Creole Gumbo also operates restaurants in Northwest Detroit (13505 W. Seven Mile Road, Detroit, MI 48235) and Farmington Hills (29216 Orchard Lake Rd., Farmington Hills, MI 48334).

For more information, visit detroitgumbo.com.