Lowell Hawthorne, 57, founder/CEO, Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery/Grill -- suicide by gunshot
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That Derek
2017-12-03 20:25:53 UTC

Golden Krust founder commits suicide in Bronx factory

BY Adam Schrader
Rocco Parascandola 


Updated: Saturday, December 2, 2017, 10:56 PM

The founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill who once appeared on “Undercover Boss” killed himself inside his Bronx factory Saturday, police sources said.

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, shot himself inside the Park Ave. building near E. 173rd St. in Claremont about 5:30 p.m., sources said.

More than a dozen current and former employees stood in disbelief outside the factory hours later. Some had tears rolling down their cheeks.

“He was a good boss, humble and a good businessman,” said Pete Tee, 27, a former employee. “He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now.”

Hawthorne opened the first Golden Krust store on E. Gun Hill Rd. in 1989.

The Jamaica-born owner went on to build the beef-patty purveyor into a national empire with more than 120 restaurants in nine states.

In May of last year, Hawthorne starred in an episode of CBS’ “Undercover Boss,” and discovered some of his chefs “aren't on the same cookbook page,” according to the CBS website.

Pat Russo, who has worked with Hawthorne since the 1990s, was confounded by the news that his fellow businessman had taken his own life.

“It doesn’t make any sense. He had everything to live for,” said Russo, who is the president of Chef’s Choice food company. “He was a brilliant business guy. The perfect American success story.”

Hawthorne’s death sent shockwaves from the streets of the Bronx to government offices in Jamaica, where Prime Minister Andrew Holness fired off a tweet offering his condolences.


Memoir tells rags-to-riches story of Caribbean grill

BY Marisa Iati


Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012, 6:00 AM

Lowell Hawthorne, 52, has been immersed in the Caribbean culinary world for his entire life.

“I have lived it, I have breathed it, and it was a part of my upbringing,” he says.

In his memoir, “The Baker’s Son,” out Tuesday, Hawthorne shares how an idea inspired by his father’s bakery in Border, Jamaica, grew into the 120-branch Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill.

Golden Krust was technically born of necessity.

In 1981, Hawthorne followed several relatives to the United States in search of opportunity. While working for the New York Police Department, he realized he needed more income to support his family.

Hawthorne told his relatives he wanted to return to the family bakery business, and they jumped on board.

“They bought into my vision,” he says. “They bought into the idea, and they bought into the concept of starting the business.”

As it turns out, convincing his family to support him was the easy part. To build Golden Krust, Hawthorne and his relatives had to put everything on the line.

They mortgaged their homes. They borrowed money from friends. They emptied their savings accounts.

The total investment: $107,000.

“It was almost unattainable,” Hawthorne says.

It was worth the risk, he concedes, because he wanted to achieve “the American Dream.
2017-12-03 21:08:44 UTC
He got baked.