Cereal cafes in Europe serving Lucky Charms This photo taken July 10, 2016, shows Pop Cereal Cafe in Lisbon, Portugal. Cereal cafes have spread around Europe as young professionals tap into a yearning for nostalgia and novelty with blends of sugary American and foreign cereals. (Pop Cereal Cafe via AP/Albert Stumm via AP)
Cereal cafes in Europe serving Lucky Charms
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Travelers wandering the streets of European capitals in search of old-world charm might just as likely stumble upon from the New World. The might find a bowl of Lucky Charms.

Cafes serving American breakfast cereal have exploded in popularity in Europe. Young businesspeople are tapping into both nostalgia and novelty. Customers pay between $3 and $9 a bowl. In U.S. supermarkets, you can buy entire boxes of cereal for less.

In the last two years, cafes have opened in many cities. These cities include London, and Paris. They include Madrid and Barcelona. They include Lisbon and Berlin. They include Hamburg and Manchester. The trend also has a place in the Middle East.

There's no single model for the cafes. But they tend to offer at least 100 brands. The also offer dozens of fruit and candy toppings. They offer sweet syrups and several kinds of milk. The milk includes nondairy and flavored varieties. 

Many also serve coffee. They serve cereal-flavored milkshakes or soft-serve sundaes. Many provide inventive takes on Rice Krispies treats. These are like tiered cakes. The cakes are made from marshmallowy layers of Fruity Pebbles, Apple Jacks and other sugary cereals. Rare varieties from foreign countries also bring in homesick expats.

A classic bowl with milk is still the standard. But they're often topped with combinations. These combinations go far beyond what most Americans would recognize as a breakfast banana sliced over Corn Flakes.

Pop Cereal Cafe is in Lisbon. It has a very popular mix that includes Froot Loops and Rice Krispies. It also has mini marshmallows and dried strawberries. It is topped with strawberry syrup, a waffle cookie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It is served with a side of milk in a glass bottle.

"Cereal has existed for what, a hundred years?" This was the question posed by one of Pop's three owners, Filipe Vicente. He is 32. "But for a hundred years it was cereal and milk and that was pretty much it. Now this product has so many varieties. The combinations are endless. We think, what about ice cream or pudding? Why not?"

Brightly colored boxes line the shelves at Pop. This is for both practical and decorative purposes. A bunkbed and padded benches let patrons doze off for a quick nap. Pop also has hosted events. These include a pajama party with a live band called Beliche. That is Portuguese for bunkbed.

Vicente was a mechanical engineer until 2016. He said they got the idea from seeing Cereal Killer Cafe in London. It was the first of its kind in Europe. Identical twins from Belfast had opened it in 2014. That was after they saw cereal cafes in the United States. It was also after watching the 2007 independent movie "Flakes." Now Cereal Killer has two more stores in England. It also has branches in Jordan, Dubai and Kuwait.

Cafes that had opened in Chicago, Florida and Texas have since mostly closed. But two flashy entries opened recently in New York. One is a Kellogg's-branded flagship near Times Square. The other is inside a designer sneaker store in Brooklyn.

But nowhere has the trend caught on quite like it has in Europe. In Europe, grocery stores never stocked the hundreds of varieties that fill entire aisles of American supermarkets.

Nicolas Castan is one of three people behind El Flako. It is in Barcelona. He said the lack of experience led to some risky combinations after they opened in the spring of 2017.

"Almost half the people would make their own but they wouldn't finish it because they were making really weird mixes, like Froot Loops with chocolate Krave," said Castan, who previously worked in public relations. "So, we tried to make sure the combinations are balanced with both flavor and texture."

On one recent afternoon, all of El Flako's 20 seats were filled, mostly with Spanish speakers who giggled at the menu's fruity, chocolatey, honey or healthy combinations. Lining the white shelves around them were colorful boxes of Sugar Smacks, Disney Princess and dozens of others cereals. There were also potted plants labeled with first names of famous rock singers like Patti, Jim and Alice. A soundtrack of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and The Clash pumped out of the speakers.

Castan, 29, said the nod to classic rock points to the origins of the boxed-cereal boom in the 1960s and '70s. "We have a concept of going back to the roots, returning to being a kid, back to the origins."

The combination of novelty and atmosphere were enough to attract Maria Roca. She is a 19-year-old student from the University of Barcelona and came back a second time with a friend, Nuria Amor.

"It's not cheap, but it's not really expensive," said Roca, who had a 5.60 euro combo of Cookie Krisp, Choco Krispies, Kinder chocolates, M&Ms, bananas and chocolate milk. "And it's something original, so I wanted to show her."

Would they be back?

"Yes, for sure," said Amor, who had Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Apple Jacks with honey, apples and wheat milk. "It was really good, and you wouldn't do that at home."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why might eating a cereal in a cafe be appealing to customers?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (39)
  • Thunvi-bla
    10/19/2017 - 09:15 a.m.

    Eating cereal in a café might be more appealing because they have plenty of cereals to choose from. Also,you get choose everything. The toppings, type of milk, and the cereal. I can also say that going to a restaurant, café etc. really makes me excited.

  • Ella-bla1
    10/19/2017 - 09:17 a.m.

    I think that eating cereal in a café would be appealing to customers because if you are using colorful foods such as cereal (Lucky Charms), the customers may find it interesting and want to eat there. Also, I'm sure that many customers also like to eat cereal at home so they might like to eat it outside of there house as well. Lucky Charms is a well-favorited cereal as well and the café workers could persuade people to eat it. I do not know for sure but since the café is selling lucky charms in Europe it could attract many people because they may not sell Lucky Charms in stores so they found a way to sell them in a café.

  • Lucie-bla
    10/19/2017 - 09:18 a.m.

    I think this would be appealing to other because this idea is interesting, unique, and different. I love that there is many kinds of milk, toppings, and mixes of cereal. It shows that they have put something American in Europe for people who want to experience it. Also, if you are homesick, there is something very appealing about going into a store with something familiar. I think they should do this In America too!

  • William-bla1
    10/19/2017 - 09:18 a.m.

    I think it's cool that people mixing combinations in their favorite cereal brands, it adds a lot to the flavoring. It's also cool how people in Europe are just now enjoying this type of cereal. I sure wish a café like this would be near me. However some people make strange combinations that don't taste very good. I would try to experiment with the flavors and toppings. Good luck with the wacky and cool flavors.

  • Sydney-bla1
    10/19/2017 - 09:19 a.m.

    I think that eating cereal in a café is appealing to customers because it is not your average cereal that you are eating. You are having these weird combinations that you would not have at your house. Or, at least I would not. I also think that it would a fun little adventure to do as well as hoew2 it would be something different. That is why I think it would be a fun thing to do!

  • Kalina-bla
    10/19/2017 - 09:19 a.m.

    I think that eating cereal in a café is appealing to costumers because they have more options to put on the cereal. At home, they may only have a couple options of cereals, but at the café they have hundreds of different cereals.

  • jackiek-orv
    10/19/2017 - 11:37 a.m.

    why would customers pay between $3 and $9 a bowl of lucky charms?!
    i don't really like them so i guess if you liked them you'd do it.

  • JasminH-bla
    10/19/2017 - 11:37 a.m.

    My opinion on the text was that it was very original idea to create a cereal café. In the text it says that "Customers pay between $3 and $9 a bowl". I believe that it is a ridiculous amount to pay for a bowl of cereal. In the text it says "In the U.S supermarkets you can buy a entire box of cereal for less". There is no point in going out to eat when you can buy it at the store.

  • Zoe-bla1
    10/19/2017 - 11:42 a.m.

    I thought this story was very interesting. I did not know people put things like ice cream, different types of milk and candy in their cereal. I also thought that it was interesting that the store had bunk beds and padded benches for the people to take naps if they would like. This story was about a cereal café opening in Europe. Also the story explained what they served at the store.

  • Owen-bla
    10/19/2017 - 11:44 a.m.

    Eating cereal in as café is appealing to the customers because you have a variety of cereal instead of two or three choices at your casa. I thought this article was appealing because it was very interesting and fun to learn about.

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