At the Grand Junction restaurant Spoons, the cinnamon rolls help support hospice care that goes the extra mile

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Ryan Warner/CPR News
The entrance to Spoons in Grand Junction, which is on the campus of HopeWest Hospice.

The cinnamon rolls glisten with so much icing that it’s hard to see the pastry underneath. The pastries are what Spoons bistro & bakery in Grand Junction is best known for. 

That, and the fact that the restaurant is on the campus of HopeWest Hospice, which cares for people at the end of life across five Western Slope counties.

“It allows people to get comfortable with us before they need us,” said Chief Development Officer Deb Horwitz. 

HopeWest built a new building in 2008, and the previous CEO mused about opening a restaurant. 

“I don’t know if the Board of Directors at the time was 100 percent in favor of it, but since then, they’ve changed their minds,” Horwitz said.

Ryan Warner/CPR News
The decadent cinnamon rolls at Spoons await an empty stomach, Sept. 10, 2023.

Spoons, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, isn’t just about raising awareness of hospice care. The money it raises — along with a thrift store — allows the nonprofit to go the extra mile for terminal clients.

Like a rancher who lived in nearby Collbran. He was in pain, Horwitz said, and stayed at the care center so it could be managed. But he wanted to die on his land. 

“So we got an ambulance and took him back to Collbran. He was able to look out these bay windows at his ranch and his horses, and he died peacefully,” she said. “If we were a for-profit hospice, they probably wouldn't have had the decision to take the ambulance ride.” 

Not everyone is thrilled at first to break bread at hospice. But the consistent cuisine and pleasant patio make it hard to resist — even for the most recalcitrant diners.

Ryan Warner/CPR News
HopeWest Hospice's Deb Horwitz (left) speaks with Colorado Matters Senior Host Ryan Warner on the Spoons patio in Grand Junction, Sept. 10, 2023.

Horwitz recalled a couple who lived nearby. The husband refused to eat dinner at a hospice. 

“One day, they got in the car to go to dinner, and she didn’t say a word,” Horwitz said. “They came in and had dinner and he goes, ‘How come I didn’t even know about this place?! This is fabulous!’”

The wife revealed it was the eatery associated with end-of-life care, and the man overcame his hesitancy.

Destigmatizing death is an important mission for Spoons — along with those dripping cinnamon rolls, of course.