Dec. 8, 2022 By Christian Murray
A long-time Italian restaurant that has been part of the fabric of Sunnyside for more than 50 years is closing.
Dazies Restaurant, which was established in 1970 by the late Lily Gavin, is closing next month. The restaurant has been located at 39-41 Queens Blvd. since it opened and has been managed by Gavin’s children since her death in 2016.
The restaurant is known for its old-world charm and features tables dress in white linens. The restaurant offers the classic Italian menu, including pasta, chicken, veal, seafood, steaks and chops.
Small Town Confidential, a publication run by Sunnyside resident Patricia Dorfman, broke the news of the restaurant’s impending closure and spoke to Keri Kerim Soldana, Gavin’s daughter.
“Dazies was started by our mom Lily Gavin 53 years ago on Sunday, Jan. 1, 1970,” Soldana told the publication. “It is with a heavy heart that we will close the doors for the last time but also a joy and pride at family success. We are deeply saddened to be closing as our mom was honored to serve this community and had a great love for the people in it.”
Gavin, who died at the age of 85, was a Sunnyside luminary. She was at one time the president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and was part of several organizations, including the Sunnyside Drum Corps., Sunnyside Shines, Long Island City YMCA and Sunnyside Community Services. She also helped coordinate the annual Kiwanis Sunnyside Flag Day parade.
She also played a major role in raising $450,000 for the revamp of the Sunnyside arch more than a decade ago.
“Dazies, Lily Gavin and her wonderful family have been a blessing to Sunnyside and so many for an incredible number of years,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan in a statement after hearing the restaurant was closing. “We were lucky to have Dazies as a house of welcome…a great delight.”
Dazies was a popular venue for Queens Democrats, particularly when former Congressman Joseph Crowley was in office. Many elected officials have held fundraisers at the restaurant.
The restaurant is well known for hosting private events.
In 2017, the city co-named the corner of 40th Street/Queens Blvd in honor of Gavin. It was co-named Lillian ‘Lily’ Gavin Place.
“By renaming the street adjacent to Dazies in Lily’s honor, we are forever recognizing all that she accomplished for this neighborhood and her status as an iconic Sunnysider,” said Jimmy Van Bramer, who represented Sunnyside in the city council, at the unveiling in 2017.
Gavin was viewed as a tower of strength especially among women.
She was born in 1931 and was the daughter of Albanian immigrants. She married at the age of 18, reported the Queens Gazette, through an arranged marriage and ultimately had five children.
The marriage didn’t last, and she raised her children alone. She worked as a waitress in several restaurants in Queens, the Gazette reported, coming at last to one on the north side of Queens Boulevard near 40th Street called Maisie’s.
Eventually she bought it in partnership with several other investors, according to the Gazette. She bought out the partners and changed the name from Maisie’s to Dazies.