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Utah prison's popular restaurant closes -- but leaves us their peanut butter bar recipe

Serving Time Cafe
Posted at 10:26 AM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 12:26:46-04

DRAPER, Utah — A prison isn't the place you'd think of for dining out, but the Serving Time Cafe had a reputation for serving good food and cheap.

It also provided job training for inmates, building up some experience to land on their feet when they got out. But the Utah Department of Corrections announced on Tuesday it was closing Serving Time Cafe permanently.

"Out of concern for the ongoing health and safety of the Utah Department of Corrections staff and the people incarcerated in our facility, we have come to the difficult decision to permanently close the Serving Time Cafe," Maria Peterson, Director of Utah Correctional Industries, said in a statement through the agency. "For more than 10 years, the Serving Time Cafe has contributed to the UCI mission, providing real-world work experiences for incarcerated women and teaching them valuable skills in food preparation and customer service."

The cafe opened in 2007 right outside the prison gates. It was staffed by inmates who learned culinary skills and often found themselves with a job upon release.

"We want to sincerely thank our regular customers and the local businesses who employed many of our former cafe workers after release," Peterson said. "Your support of the cafe and UCI has made a positive difference in the lives of many people."

The inmates who were employed at the cafe will be given other jobs run by UCI. Serving Time Cafe also will not return at the new Utah State Prison, being built on the west side of Salt Lake City.

Peterson included the cafe's recipe for their popular peanut butter bars as a way of saying thanks to the community for their support. Here it is:


  • 1 1/2 C. Peanut Butter
  • 1 1/2 C. Butter 1 1/2 C. Sugar
  • 1 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 TBS Vanilla


  • 3 C. Flour
  • 1 TSP Salt
  • 1 1/2 TSP Baking Soda
  • 3 C. Oats


  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes
  • Spread a thin layer of peanut butter on top and let cool
  • Frost


  • 1 C. Butter
  • 1/2 C. Cocoa Powder
  • 4 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/2 TSP Vanilla
  • Add milk to consistency desired