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Southeast Queens leaders cut ribbon on new restaurant venture at JFK Airport

Photo courtesy of the Port Authority

Southeast Queens leaders joined Port Authority officials to celebrate the opening of J&P Runway Café, a local minority- and woman-owned business (MWBE) and on-airport employee cafeteria inside Building 14 at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

J&P Runway Café is led by successful local Queens restaurateurs Annette Runcie, owner of Pa-Nash Restaurant in Rosedale, and Michael Duncan, owner of Jamaica Breeze Restaurant in Laurelton.

“As co-chair of the JFK Redevelopment Community Advisory Council, our priority on the board has been to ensure that southeast Queens benefits from the economic opportunities these projects are creating,” Congressman Gregory Meeks said. “I am thrilled to see MWBEs and LBEs like J&P Runway Café continue to open up across JFK and employ residents from the local community. I thank the Port Authority for their commitment to making sure that we not only modernize JFK, but we revitalize the local economy as well.”

J&P Runway Café has committed to hiring southeast Queens residents to work at the cafeteria and successfully hired seven employees thus far. The next job fair will take place in early 2021.

“JFK International Airport is a huge part of our local economy, so having local restaurants on site is a continuation of that connection with our community,” said Donovan Richards, the former southeast Queens councilman who was recently sworn in as Queens borough president. “Queens is home to some of the best small restaurants in the country, with food from all over the world, and having them at our airports is a great opportunity. Right now, so many restaurant owners are struggling, so this partnership is even more important. I look forward to seeing the success of J&P Runway Café and the continued success of Pa-Nash and Jamaica Breeze.”

Runcie and Duncan agreed, saying they were excited about the opportunity and “what it will mean for southeast Queens,” adding they were looking forward to a long-lasting relationship with the Port Authority.

“J&P Runway Café is a tremendous, new asset to the JFK community. We are proud to be partnering with this outstanding, local minority- and woman-owned business venture to bring a high-quality food option with an international flair to the JFK workforce,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “The Port Authority is completely committed to ensuring the economic benefits of its redevelopment projects accrue to the Queens communities surrounding the airport.”

State Senator Leroy Comrie, co-chair of the JFK Advisory Council Workforce Development Committee, lauded the timing of the opening.

“With massive job loss due to COVID-19, the launch of a new business venture is a benefit for southeast Queens residents,” Comrie said. “I am incredibly proud of Annette Runcie and Michael Duncan for their tenacity, leadership and vision in forming J&P Runway Café, incorporating not only their individual businesses but also bringing with them other integral community entrepreneurs as well to expand their capacity. I want to commend PA Executive Director Rick Cotton and his team for their commitment to enhancing MWBE opportunities, even amid the challenges of this pandemic.”

The newly renovated space is more than 5,000 square feet, providing ample room for distancing, and offers indoor and outdoor seating. The cafeteria was built to ensure safe dining for airport employees during COVID-19. The contract issued is for five years with an option to renew for an additional five years.

“Congratulations to Michael Duncan and Annette Runcie on the grand opening of J&P Runway Café,” Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson said. “For far too long, bureaucratic processes have been a barrier for the advancement of MWBE businesses across Queens. Too many of our businesses are denied large contracts. Today that changes. I am grateful to be part of this monumental step for small business and restaurant owners alike. This investment will not only positively impact the local community but will provide a sense of pride and unity for southeast Queens.”

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