Jambalaya, red beans and rice, fried catfish and more from Louisiana Creole Gumbo will continue to be a staple on Gratiot when the longstanding restaurant moves to a spacious new home with a dining room, liquor license and on-site parking.
After more than 50 years, the last day of service at the carryout-only spot at 2051 Gratiot will be Nov. 28. The new, full-service restaurant, 2830 Gratiot in Detroit, is expected to open this spring with dine-in and a carryout counter. In the meantime, owner Joe Spencer and his team will serve customers out of their commissary kitchen at the new location starting Dec. 5.
The new 4,800-square-foot building is an Art Deco structure built in 1933 at the corner of Gratiot and Jos Campau. It’s less than half a mile from the original location, which was founded in 1970 by Thibodaux, Louisiana, native Joseph Stafford and his wife Margarine. They’re credited with bringing Creole cuisine to the Motor City.
Spencer and a partner purchased the restaurant from Stafford in 1983. It’s believed to be one of the oldest Black-owned restaurants in the city.
“I am excited about Joe’s plans to expand his restaurant and that it will remain an anchor for the Eastern Market area,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in a press release announcing the new location.
“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,” said Duggan.
Louisiana Creole Gumbo’s expansion is aided by support from the city of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and Invest Detroit. Architects Beverly Hannah-Jones of Hannah Jones Associates are behind the new design, which features a mix of contemporary and vintage touches.
“We had plans of growing our restaurant in its current location,” Spencer said. “But now we can expand upon our vision and bring a new culinary experience to the city.”
Spencer had been working on expansion plans for years, telling The Detroit News in 2022 that he wanted to buy the building of the original location, but couldn’t come to terms with the landlord.
Louisiana Creole Gumbo operates a second Detroit location at 13505 W. Seven Mile, and another at 29216 Orchard Lake in Farmington Hills. Visit louisianacreolegumbo.com for more information.