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Take A Seat At The Silver Cafe | Business

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Take A Seat At The Silver Cafe
Take A Seat At The Silver Cafe

Spokane is on the cutting edge – at least for Spokane County's Meals on Wheels program.

The county is about to enter territory that has never been explored by opening a Silver Cafe to the public. Normally, Silver Cafes are built in senior homes, where those 60-years-of-age and older can enjoy a home cooked meal for very little or no cost.

The idea to open the cafe to the public started with Pam Almeida, the Executive Director of the county's Meals on Wheels program (not to be confused with Mid-City Concerns Meals on Wheels, which is a different agency.)

“We had been told many times before that our food was good and restaurant quality,” Almeida said. So she thought why should our seniors be the only ones to enjoy the food?

Almeida has been to the Moose Crossing Cafe along Nevada in North Spokane before, but on this particular day there was a sign that simply said: “Because of road construction, we couldn't maintain our customer base.”

They were closed.

“When I looked in the tables were even set, it was very strange,” Almeida remembered.

This gave her an idea – not only could they open a Silver Cafe to the public, but they could open it in the old Moose Crossing Cafe.

What about funding?

Almeida applied for a WalMart grant that sought to change the way America serves its seniors. Her new Silver Cafe fit the bill and they were given one of only 20 grants passed out in the entire country.

They started renovating the old Moose Crossing Cafe to give a bistro or coffee house feel, according to Almeida. They hit a snag in late December when they ripped up the flooring and discovered they'd need to do a lot more work than just laying tile.

“We need 34 sheets of one quarter inch plywood,” Almeida said.

The flooring surprise is not in their budget, so they're hoping someone might have some lying around or will donate the plywood.

Despite the small setback, Almeida hopes they can open to the public in mid-January. Once it does, they'll offer entrees like pot-roast, but also serve the simple soup, salad and sandwich meals. Almeida prides herself on being able to offer low-sodium and low-fat meals.

“We cater as well, so this will be just an addition for the catering that will be an expansion of that,” Almeida said.

As always, seniors 60-year-of-age and older can get a free meal or pay what they can, but the public will be charged full price. Everything they earn at the cafe will go back into the Meals on Wheels program.

It's something that's never been done before; Spokane will be the first city in the nation to open a Silver Cafe to the public.

“I'm excited, I go back and forth from being 'yes it's going to work' to being very nervous about the trial,” Almeida said. “The nice thing about our program is that it's not in jeopardy, because we got that grant, so we're not putting anything on the line.”

Contact the Spokane County Meals on Wheels: 509-924-6976

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