Imagine my joy when I was biking down Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park a couple of weeks ago and saw The Cereal Bowl nestled between a newly opening Palm Beach Tan (really?) and the giant concrete facade of the Uptown Theater. The basic idea is simple--Americans like cereal, Americans like toppings on their cereal, kids like disgusting sugary cereals that their parents won't buy them, so why not create a cereal bar where everyone can be happy? You order your cereal (or a combination)--choices range from Cap'n Crunch to Grape Nuts to Cheerios to granola--then pick up to 3 toppings. You have your choice of normal toppings like strawberries, blueberries and bananas, or you can go crazy and get marshmallows and crumbled vanilla wafers.
I convinced my boyfriend that we had to go, so being the good sport that he is, he agreed to try it out this morning. I went the boring route and got granola (which I'm pretty sure was crumbled up Nature Valley Honey and Oat granola bars) with strawberries, blueberries and almonds. He went a more...um...exotic route and ordered the "Dirt Bowl"--Cookie Crisp with crushed Oreos, chocolate syrup and gummy worms. The mere sight of it made my blood sugar spike through the roof, but he said it was delicious. I took his word for it.
And it's not just the cold cereal. They have muffins the diameter of soccer balls, a full espresso bar (Blackberry Creme Mochas? Yes, please.) "Oaties," which are smoothies made with oats (which are delicious, though the lumpy, snot-like consistency is somewhat off-putting), hot teas, and hot cereal. They're not just open for breakfast, either. Monday through Thursday, hours are 6:30 AM through 10 PM, Fridays it's 6:30 AM to 11 PM, Saturdays 7-11 and Sundays, 7-8.
Pre-designed combos run as much as $4.29 for a small, $4.89 for a large, but the quirky charm, free WiFi and outlets, and limitless cereal combinations make it completely worth the money. It's an up-and-coming national chain, but there's only a few nation-wide, so it feels like a neighborhood institution. The staff is warm, friendly and patient, and their uniforms consist of t-shirts and plaid flannel pants. The general lack of seating leaves something to be desired, but there's a permit for a coming enclosed sidewalk cafe on the window. I have a feeling that I'll be spending lots of time here this summer, inching my way ever closer to a happy, sugar-induced coma.