Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill

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Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill
Industry Restaurants
Founded 1989; 29 years ago (1989)
The Bronx, New York City, United States[1]
Founders Lowell Hawthorne and family
Number of locations
Area served
United States
Key people
Lowell Hawthorne (President and CEO)[2]
Products Caribbean cuisine
An interior of a Golden Krust restaurant

Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill is a Caribbean cuisine fast food chain, and manufacturer and distributor of Caribbean food products, based in Brooklyn, New York City.[1]

The parent company is owned by immigrants from Jamaica, and the stores are franchised. There are over 100 Golden Krust restaurants operating in nine states throughout the United States; New York, New Jersey, Canada, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Texas.[1] The majority of the restaurants are situated in New York.[4]

The company also distributes food products to retailers and is considered the foremost Jamaican business in the U.S.[5] It is also "the only company that makes and distributes nine varieties of Jamaican-style patties."[5]

Golden Krust's origins trace back to a 50-year-old bakery owned by Ephraim Hawthorne in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, that serves "family recipes".[6] Ephraim's son Lowell Hawthorne, Golden Krust's former President and CEO, opened the first U.S. restaurant in 1989 on Gun Hill Road in the Bronx.


The restaurants serve mildly spicy, and hot, Jamaican patties, jerk chicken, jerk fish, dumplings, steamed yams, and curried meat dishes.[7] Items served include callaloo (Caribbean greens) and ackee.[7][8]

In 1998 the company produced 25 million flaky burnt-orange patties on assembly lines at its main facility.[9] The restaurants do a lot of take-out business, as the patties are portable, and also distributes to supermarkets in 30 states.[9] Offerings include beef patty, vegetable patty, spicy beef and cheese patty, soy patty, oxtail, curried goat, brown stew chicken, roti filled with curried meat or vegetables, and "coco" bread.[9]

West Indian Community[edit]

The eateries have drawn interest from the West Indian community [7] Many of its original franchises were opened by nurses, and many stores are opened near hospitals where many workers are West Indian with Caribbean heritage.[10]

The chain started out serving Caribbean immigrants, but customers now include Americans.[7] The type of food served is "becoming more and more familiar to Americans thanks to holidays they take in Aruba, Jamaica, or Trinidad and Tobago, or through meeting at work people from these islands and others." [7] There are plans to open an additional 250 stores over the next five years in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean.[7]

Jamaica's ambassador to the United States was present for the opening of the chain's fifth store in Atlanta, Georgia.[11] Core customers come from Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Haiti.[12]

Corporate growth[edit]

The parent company is also involved in the financial services industry.[13] The family running the business hope to add the Jamaican patty to the list of American ethnic fast foods alongside the Italian pizza slice, Jewish bagel, and the Chinese noodle.[14] The company uses a rising sun logo and has a city contract to serve lunches to prison inmates and schoolchildren.[14] Hawthorne came to New York in 1981 and graduated from Bronx Community College before working as an accountant with the New York Police Department for nine years. Nine brothers and sisters are involved in the family business.[14]


To open its first restaurant, the family pooled $107,000, "using the Caribbean concept of susu, whereby everyone pitched in $100 a week to raise start-up money after banks refused them a loan."[12]


The restaurants do mostly take-out and have limited seating. The decor is decorated in bright "sunny" yellow and orange tiles.[12] Competing patty producers include Tower Isles Frozen Foods in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which sells more than 100,000 patties a day to supermarkets, convenience stores, delis and pizza shops that bake them on site, and Caribbean Food Delights, which makes 250,000 a day at a factory in Tappan, N.Y. "for sale at major supermarkets and warehouse chains, including Costco, Wal-Mart and Pathmark." [12] In August 2016, The company announced plans to move and consolidate all its operations to Orangeburg, New York, near the Caribbean Food Delights location.[15]

Founder and CEO's death[edit]

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, was found dead of an apparent suicide on December 2, 2017 inside a Golden Krust company factory in the Bronx, New York.[16] His death was mourned by many including former employees, colleagues and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.[17]

Hawthorne was previously featured on the CBS reality television show Undercover Boss in 2016.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d "Overview". Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill. Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  2. ^ "Executive Team". Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill. Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  3. ^ "Home". Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill. Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  4. ^ "Store Search". Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill. Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  5. ^ a b Shirley commends Golden Krust August 30, 2006 Jamaica Gleaner
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ a b c d e f AJP page M3 May 8, 2009 India Abroad
  8. ^ Emily Denitto Food Finds; The Revels You Know, The Revels You Don't May 1, 2005 New York Times
  9. ^ a b c Amy Waldman From a Flaky Foundation, a Food Empire April 26, 1998 New York Times
  10. ^ Louise Kramer For Ex-Nurses, Real Money's in Takeout Sunday, April 4, 2004 New York Times
  11. ^ Golden Krust Opens Fifth Restaurant in Atlanta Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Jamaica Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade
  12. ^ a b c d Becky Aikman Jamaican fast food: The next big thing? Business Opportunities Journal
  13. ^ Jamaica National Overseas And Golden Krust (New York) February 18, 2005 Jamaica National Building Society
  14. ^ a b c Michelle Garcia [For N.Y. Caribbean Beef Patty Co., Business Is Cooking February 14, 2005; Page A03 Washington Post
  15. ^ "Golden Krust plans to relocate to Rockland". 
  16. ^ "Golden Krust founder commits suicide in Bronx factory". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-12-03. 
  17. ^ Holness, Andrew [@AndrewHolnessJM] (December 2, 2017). "My condolences to the friends, family and employees of Jamaica-born Lowell Hawthorne, CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill. He headed the largest Caribbean franchise chain in the US, with more than 120 stores" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  18. ^ Brown, Carolyn M. (May 20, 2016). "CEO of Golden Krust Bakery & Grill to Appear on CBS Hit Series 'UNDERCOVER BOSS'". Black Enterprise. Retrieved April 12, 2018. 

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