Dunns River Lounge celebrates 20 years

Rockville Centre honors one of its cherished restaurants


Dunns River Lounge in Rockville Centre recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. The restaurant, owned by second-generation Jamaican immigrant Naala Royale Holder, has been a cherished fixture in the community since it opened on June 2, 2004.

For the past two decades, Dunns River Lounge has provided customers with a vibrant atmosphere and an authentic taste of Jamaican cuisine, through its rich and flavorful dishes.

It is thanks to Holder's unwavering dedication to her heritage and passion for culinary excellence that has solidified the restaurant's place among the village’s many eateries and establishments.

In celebration of this milestone, the restaurant held a cocktail reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony that was attended by local officials and community leaders. The event underscored the restaurant's significant impact and the strong bonds it has forged within the community.

Deputy Mayor Kathy Baxley praised Dunns River Lounge as a shining example in the town, commending its impeccable record and calling it a “true cornerstone” of Rockville Centre.

Lionel Chitty, the executive director of the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs, highlighted the restaurant's resilience during the coronavirus pandemic.

He noted how Dunns River Lounge was the first to reopen for indoor dining after the lockdown, showcasing its adaptability and commitment to serving its patrons.

Hempstead Town Councilwoman Laura Ryder praised Holder for her tenacity and strength in running the business, emphasizing Dunns River Lounge's positive impact on the community.

Ed Asip, president of the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce, also commended the restaurant for its contributions to the local business community and job creation.

Nassau County Legislator Scott Davis and Hempstead Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby were also among the distinguished guests who joined the celebration.

The restaurant was honored with citations from the offices of each elected official, as well as a proclamation recognizing the establishment for its 20 years of service.

Holder expressed her gratitude, acknowledging her dedicated team, including Chef Bobby, who has been with her for over 14 years, and her family, who have been instrumental in the restaurant's success.

She also credits her marketing background for helping navigate the restaurant through various challenges, including the pandemic.

"I am as good as my team, and my marketing background has helped me keep our doors open for over 20 years despite the numerous challenges most restaurants face," Holder said.

Reflecting on the challenges posed by the pandemic, Holder shared how introducing takeout services and technological upgrades helped the business thrive, even doubling its growth. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the restaurant offered a 20 percent discount on entrees and hosted a well-attended all-white BBQ event.

Dunns River Lounge, located at 93 N. Park Ave. in Rockville Centre, continues to serve as a beacon of cultural pride and culinary excellence.

For more information visit DunnsRiverNY.com or call (516)-764-6540.