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?
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COMMENTS (54)
  • Jacob-bla2
    10/19/2017 - 11:44 a.m.

    This article is really interesting because who would have ever thought of a 2,000,000 calorie meal, like Froot Loops and chocolate Krave with a truckload of honey and apples. I might want to visit one of these though. It is interesting that a bowl costs more that a whole box of cereal. It is also interesting how thaey are so interested in American cereal. It is kind of like dessert.

  • Zachary-bla1
    10/19/2017 - 02:17 p.m.

    I think this article was surprisingly interesting. I thought I would just be reading about cereal, but I found many different types of facts I didn't know before. Also, this article was written well and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed this but I don't think it is a good idea to have cereal cafes. I think it could be appealing because they can put their own mixes into their bowl.

  • Molly-bla
    10/19/2017 - 02:19 p.m.

    I think that this text was very interesting. but what I round very suprising was that people topped their cereal with weird food combinations and then payed between 3 to 9 dollars a bowl. in the text it says "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" I really think that this was very cool and I did not know that people put ice cream on their cereal!!!! although this may sound a little weird I think that it is a good way to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

  • JoshuaA-bla1
    10/19/2017 - 02:20 p.m.

    I love cereal, and I eat it everyday. Eating cereal in a café sound so fancy because I am so use to eating I'm my kitchen a café sounds like such a step up. So, I think eating cereal sounds appealing to customer because it is such a step up from a kitchen, and they put a lot of special stuff.

  • Sol-bla
    10/19/2017 - 02:20 p.m.

    This is a really interesting article. Though I still do not understand why things like ice cream, or apples may be put into this cereal. This may be very fun and exiting to experience with,(and I do want to try this), but this sounds very unhealthy but very, very, very, appealing

  • Neveahh-orv
    10/19/2017 - 02:54 p.m.

    I think that lucky charms are really good. I think that you should have a cereal café. I think that we should have a cereal café at are schools.

  • Clayton-bla
    10/19/2017 - 04:00 p.m.

    I thought this article was interesting.I did not know that their was even a cereal cafe out somewhere in the world.I thought it was interesting that you can buy a box for less than a bowl. People even put candy toppings on their ice cream which I would never do. In the future I think I would enjoy to visit a cereal cafe just for something new.

  • Clayton-bla
    10/19/2017 - 04:07 p.m.

    I thought this article was interesting. The thing that i thought was most interesting was that you can buy a box of cereal for less than a bowl at the cafe. It was weird to find out that people put candy topping on their cereal.The story was about what they severed like over 100 brands of cereal,and them opening up. I would probably visit a cereal cafe in the future just to try something new.

  • AnnabelleA-del
    10/19/2017 - 05:03 p.m.

    I loved the because it was really unique and interesting. It kept me entertained and I thought the idea of this type of cafe was very fun. I would definitely go to this store in the future. My personal favorite cereal are coco puffs. They are like rice crispy treats but with chocolate! They turn the milk to chocolate milk and taste so good!

  • Caroline-bla1
    10/19/2017 - 05:41 p.m.

    The article was very interesting because it is about people going to a café just to eat cereal. It is way cheaper, and you can add a variety of toppings and different selections of cereal are given. I would like to have more experiences like this near Louisville because this sounds quite fun and enjoyable. I also thought it was unique that inside the store there were benches and a bunk bed for customers to nap on. overall, this was an interesting article and I strongly feel this would be a great experience to try.

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