A new Afro-Caribbean restaurant and food shop will open soon in Darlington town centre, as a vision of what customers can expect has been set out by its owner.

Iyawa Afro-Caribbean Foods & Kitchen will take its place on Tubwell Row in Darlington in late July or early August after its owner, Deborah Tajudeen-Ogunrinde, set out what people can expect from the unique new food venture in the town. 

Deborah, originally from Nigeria, moved to Darlington seven years ago and has been inspired by Darlington's diverse food scene - but says that Afro-Caribbean food is one thing that she believes is required in Darlington. 

"I love food - I've been to so many incredible food places in Darlington, but I was surprised that there's no Afro-Caribbean place," said Deborah. 

Deborah Tajudeen-Ogunrinde on Tubwell Row, DarlingtonDeborah Tajudeen-Ogunrinde on Tubwell Row, Darlington (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

"In terms of what people expect - they can expect some spice and sweet foods, a lot of rice dishes, but the rest of the food will be a surprise until we open."

If all goes to plan, the owner of the restaurant and food shop, the venue will open with music and entertainment at the grand opening, which will take place over a two-day 'festival atmosphere'. 

Alongside the food kitchen, which will be a takeaway offering at first, customers can buy groceries, like grains and rice, from the shop part of the building. 

And, in time, people can order takeaways from Iyawa Afro-Caribbean Foods & Kitchen, using Just Eat and Darlo Eats. 

In the build-up to opening the new and unique opportunity, Deborah has enlisted the help of her family, people from her church group, and those she's met in the seven years since arriving in Darlington. 

The business owner has also used her experience from working at Carmel College, and Darlington College, and volunteering at Basement Kitchen in Darlington.

Deborah added: "Before starting this business, you always doubt whether you can do it. 

"But with the support of those around me - we've managed to make a good start on setting up this place."

In the future, Deborah has said that whichever proves most successful between the restaurant and grocery shop will remain at the Tubwell Row site, while the other will be moved to another building in Darlington.