Miss G, the culinary matriarch, celebrates over 30 years of serving the best Jamaican cuisine in Queens

G’s Restaurant & Bakery is a staple in the Queens community.
Photo by Tracey Khan

In the heart of Queens, there is a culinary gem that has woven itself into the very fabric of the community – G’s Restaurant & Bakery located at 135-36 Rockaway Blv’d., South Ozone. For more than three decades, G’s Restaurant has been serving up some of the most authentic and mouthwatering Jamaican cuisine and stands as a testament to the enduring power of a dream and the legacy of one woman’s culinary prowess.

Founded by the indomitable Gwendolyn Willie, affectionately known as Miss G, the Restaurant began as a humble endeavor driven by passion and a yearning to bring the vibrant flavors of Jamaica to New York. Miss G, who hails from the sun-soaked shores of Jamaica, arrived in the United States with a vision and a determination to achieve the American dream.

Gwendolyn Willie the matriarch of of G's Restaurant.
Gwendolyn Willie the matriarch of of G’s Restaurant. Photo courtesy Willie Family

Establishing G’s Restaurant was no small feat. Many days were marked by the struggle to afford produce to prepare the food that would eventually become the heart of her restaurant. Despite financial constraints, Miss G credited her family’s support as the catalyst for the success of her businesses.

Amid these challenges, Miss G’s sons Lodrick Cunningham and Devon McCallum emerged as pillars of support. Undeterred by the lack of resources, Cummingham took on the role of a dedicated delivery person, walking 20 blocks to ensure that customers received the flavorful dishes they ordered.

Miss G’s other son, McCallum forgoing the traditional path of attending college, chose to stand by his mother’s side. His decision to stay and contribute to building the family business spoke volumes about the familial bonds and shared commitment that defined G’s. Together, they weathered the challenges and celebrated the small victories that marked the restaurant’s early days along with her other children.

G's Restaurant & Bakery on Rockaway Blvd, South Ozone.
G’s Restaurant & Bakery on Rockaway Blv’d., South Ozone. Photo by Tracey Khan

From One to Three: A Culinary Empire

What started as a single restaurant became a culinary empire, with G’s now boasting three establishments across Queens – G’s Eatery & Bakery, G’s Homestyle Cooking, and Island Fusion. Each location is a testament to Miss G’s dedication to creating a warm and inviting space where patrons not only savor the authenticity of Jamaican cuisine but also feel a sense of home.

Jamaican staple Peas & Rice with Oxtail from G's Restaurant.
Jamaican staple Peas & Rice with Oxtail from G’s Restaurant. Photo by Tracey Khan

Still Cooking at 74

At the helm of the kitchen, even at the age of 74, Miss G remains a culinary force to be reckoned with. Her hands, weathered by time and adorned with the wisdom of years spent perfecting her craft, continue to create magic with each dish. Speaking about what she loves the most about this business she said it’s the customers, whether longtime regulars or first-time visitors, their love and appreciation for her cooking is what keeps her going.

“You don’t have to have a whole lot of money to start a business if you want to…I didn’t have the money and day by day we took it…seeing the love and respect that young and old have me for keeps me in this business, I love and I don’t have a retirement date…the customers are excellent…young kids in the neighborhood have been coming to this restaurant when they were young and they still come and support me” she added.

Owner of G's Restaurant Gwendolyn Willie surrounded by her five children.
Owner of G’s Restaurant Gwendolyn Willie surrounded by her five children. Photo courtesy the Willie family

A Family Affair and Legacy

Miss G’s journey has been a family affair. Alongside her children, she worked tirelessly to establish and build G’s into the thriving business it is today. With roots deeply embedded in entrepreneurship, inherited from her father, Miss G envisions the restaurant as more than just a business; it is a legacy to be passed down from generation to generation.

Community Connection

G’s Restaurant has become more than just a place to enjoy delicious Jamaican cuisine; it is a cornerstone of the community. Whether celebrating milestones, hosting events, or simply enjoying a meal, patrons find a sense of belonging within the walls of G’s.

Looking Ahead

As Miss G reflects on the decades of success and the journey that brought her here, she remains focused on the future. The vision is clear – to leave behind a legacy that transcends the culinary world, a legacy of love, passion, and authentic Jamaican flavors that will continue to be savored by generations.