What Happened to the Homestyle Kitchen?

When HRDC launched the Community Cafe in 2012, it was a monumental and efficiently executed project. The old Frontier Pies building went up for sale; HRDC bought it and soon thereafter opened the doors to everyone, regardless of capacity to pay. Community members experiencing food insecurity found the cafe quickly and were grateful for this new service.

Community Cafe staff in 2015

Community Cafe staff in 2015

Who didn’t find it as easily were those who are not food insecure, people who can pay for their meal and pay a little forward to help cover their neighbors. The Community Cafe had a cash collection box by the front door, but diners weren’t presented with a bill or an express ask to contribute for their meal. The look and feel of the operation felt, to many, more akin to a soup kitchen than a restaurant. HRDC decided to rebrand as Fork & Spoon Homestyle Kitchen in fall 2017, to attract more diners as a full-fledged restaurant.

Fast forward to 2019, and we have a broader diversity of patrons than ever. We host special events like Guest Chef Nights that bring new crowds in to try us out. Community awareness, however, hasn’t fully caught up. We sometimes hear things like, “I didn’t want to come in, because I thought I’d be taking a meal from someone who really needs it.” Clearly, we needed to step up our efforts in telling our story - in Bozeman, and beyond.

Fork & Spoon’s front window, newly decked out in fall 2017

Fork & Spoon’s front window, newly decked out in fall 2017

We decided that having the word “kitchen” in our name was doing us no favors in shedding the perception that we’re a soup kitchen. We still like “homestyle,” because all of our meals are scratch-cooked by an incredibly talented team. Ultimately, we opted to not go through a list of synonyms, but to go with the much simpler “Fork & Spoon.”

What does this mean for you, dear F&S fan? Not much. Our social media handles are now @forkandspoonbozeman and our website is www.forkandspoonbozeman.org. Unless you were paying very close attention, you might not have noticed, what with the magical redirecting powers of the Internet. We will switch out the signage as funding allows. (Feel free to contribute to that effort, if you feel a calling to do so.)

Most importantly, we are still here for EVERYONE, ALWAYS. Ok, not always, but Sunday through Friday, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. We will soon have tokens that will help more people find us - those who really need a meal and those who don’t. In fact, we’d love your feedback on how to best implement this program.

Many thanks to all of you for caring so much about what we do and why we do it. It means the world.

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Fork & Spoon