Detroit Pepper Co. Leaves Patrons Stuffed

Detroit’s East Side Just got Tastier

If you were to visit East English Village, you would find a small community supporting mighty restaurants. Therefore, it only made sense for Marlin Hughes, the owner of Detroit Pepper Company, to make East English Village “Home of the Detroit Pepper!”

Welcomed by Mayor Mike Duggan at a grand opening ceremony on Monday November 4, 2019, Detroit Pepper Company is a carry-out-only restaurant offering stuffed bell peppers, smoothies and other whole- food bites.

You’ll find this gem located on E. Warren near Cadieux.

Photo Credit: Antoine Marshall

Antoine Marshall: What gave you the idea to open Detroit Pepper Company?

Marlin Hughes: Detroit Pepper Company was inspired eight years ago at my wife’s birthday party where we served peppers and everyone just raved over them, they were a hit. After that, we had a long discussion and said one day, we would open a restaurant and sell peppers.

AM: Where did you study?

MH: I studied at Eastern Michigan University, but I did not study culinary arts. I’ve been cooking since I was eight years old and I have been working alongside my mother and father.

AM: Why this location? Why East English Village?

MH: I opened Detroit Pepper Company in this community, where there are many young, black impressionable children. They need to see a prominent role model in this area, not just on TV…someone they can actually see. Where young, black people can see affluent black businesses. We can be a beacon for them every day.

AM: What do you hope your business will bring to this area?

MH: My hope is that this business will bring a sense of value, sense of pride, ownership, and respect of oneself.

AM: How many employees do you have?

MH: Right now, we employee three city of Detroit residents and we are looking to hire two more. Two of the employees live right here in this neighborhood. We are providing a life for some people here.

AM: What inspired you to open a healthy restaurant?

MH: I started eating healthier because of my son who has autism. I changed his diet 18 years ago and put him on a wheat-free, gluten-free, and diary-free diet. While my son was on his diet, it also taught me more about my health.

Not only was I on this journey for him, but it became about me. I had to create a space where my son and I could coexist. As you may know, most people who suffer from autism usually turn into hermits. A hermit is one that is enclosed and lives in a basement-type place, but I needed him to be visible and create awareness for the community to show that people with autism have value as well.

So, I draw my strength from my son. He is the reason why all this is really coming together. His situation allows me to be strong for the community.

AM: What is your favorite stuffed Pepper?

MH: As someone who doesn’t consume animal by-products, my favorite is the vegan stuffed pepper.

Antoine Marshall is a freelance photojournalist for Black Business Finder