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
Lexile

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 entrepreneurs 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, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Berlin, Hamburg and Manchester. The trend also has a toehold 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, sweet syrups, and several kinds of milk. The milk includes nondairy and flavored varieties. Many also serve coffee, 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.

At Pop Cereal Cafe in Lisbon, there is a very popular mix. It includes Froot Loops and Rice Krispies with mini marshmallows and dried strawberries. Then 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, 32-year-old Filipe Vicente. "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 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 and 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, a Kellogg's-branded flagship near Times Square and one inside a designer sneaker store in Brooklyn.

Despite making inroads elsewhere, nowhere has the trend caught on quite like it has in Europe, whose grocery stores never stocked the hundreds of varieties that fill entire aisles of American supermarkets.

Nicolas Castan, one of three people behind El Flako in Barcelona, 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 technicolor boxes of Sugar Smacks, Disney Princess and dozens of others cereals, as well as 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 bring Maria Roca, a 19-year-old student from the University of Barcelona, back a second time with a friend, Nuria Amor, 19.

"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 (67)
  • JustinM-del
    10/19/2017 - 05:40 p.m.

    I think its a great idea about cereal being in cafes and restaurants and also on how they mix different food with it to taste better, I would definitely want to try it for my self

  • WilliamF-del
    10/19/2017 - 05:43 p.m.

    Wow this is really cool............
    Customers pay between $3 and $9 a bowl. In U.S. supermarkets, you can buy entire boxes of cereal for less.
    Cereal has lasted for 100s of years.......
    Cereal is becoming a big trend!

  • AngelinaB-del
    10/19/2017 - 05:45 p.m.

    This article was about a popular cereal cafe in Europe called "Pop Cereal Cafe". This article informed me about all of the different types of cereals and different types of combinations that go well together. I really liked this article because it gave me something new to learn. I did not know about this cafe and I find it very "entertaining" to know this. My favorite type of cereal is "Kellogg's Frosted Flakes". I think that this cereal is very good. It's not too sweet but not "bland". I think that anyone who enjoys "Captain Crunch" or "Cinnamon Toast Crunch" will definitely enjoy "Frosted Flakes".

  • EmilyN-del1
    10/19/2017 - 05:49 p.m.

    It is a very cute and cozy environment to eat cereal. It has bed and a "pajama day' which I think is very cute. My favorite cereal is Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

  • JadeR-del
    10/19/2017 - 05:50 p.m.

    Eating a cereal in a cafe might be appealing to customers because it's nice to go out and sit down and order and exotic bowl of cereal you don't make at home. It's nice to just sit down and eat that mix of cereal it's like going to starbucks and getting coffee in the morning. You love coffee right? Thats why you come back every morning. So people love the cereal and will come back for more especially since the cafe is so comfortable.

  • NatalieH-del
    10/19/2017 - 05:55 p.m.

    Cafes in Europe have begun to sell cereals in their menu. The price range is from $3 to $9. They've created combinations of cereals, which have become very trendy and popular.

    My favorite cereal is the frosted Mini-Wheats. In my opinion, it's the perfect balance of sweet and healthy. It has a nice crunch every time you bite into a handful of it.

  • DevanS-del
    10/19/2017 - 06:21 p.m.

    I think this a great and innovative idea. I agree that most people would enjoy the thought of having their favorite cereal combinations without having to make it themselves. However, too much sugar in people's breakfast may not be the healthiest choice. As long as it's a once every month kind of thing, it would make a good addition to anyone's neighborhood.

  • EoinM-del
    10/19/2017 - 06:23 p.m.

    I find this very interesting. This is so weird for me since i am eurpoean. Hopefully i can smuggle sone cereal for my family.

  • JuliaA -del
    10/19/2017 - 07:03 p.m.

    My favorite cereal is Fruit Loops because it's very colorful and sweet. In the article, these cafes will charge $3 to $9 dollars for American cereals to European country. Second, a lot of cities opened their doors to this type of cafe. Third, even though their brand is mostly known in Europe, they opened their doors to some states.

  • JosephF-del
    10/19/2017 - 07:05 p.m.

    Customers can eat cereal with their friends and they can also eat cereal anytime of day. This also helps lonely people and brings lots of people together over something so simple as Lucky Charms.

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