Now, Any Time of Day, Times Square Dining Can Be G-G-G-Great!

The Kellogg's Cafe's all-day cereal menu was designed by Christina Tosi of Milk Bar fame. | JACKSON CHEN
The Kellogg’s Cafe’s all-day cereal menu was designed by Christina Tosi of Milk Bar fame. | JACKSON CHEN

BY JACKSON CHEN | The modest bowl of cereal and milk are getting a gourmet makeover as Kellogg’s opens its first-ever cereal café in Times Square.

The location at 1600 Broadway at West 49th Street opened its doors to fans of Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam on July 4. (In restaurant biz parlance, that was a “soft opening” in advance of the “official” July 13 debut.) The cereal café’s menu of six cereal mixes, priced from $6.50 to $7.50, and four sundaes, from $8.50 to $9.50, was designed by Christina Tosi, who achieved culinary fame with her quirky bakery, Milk Bar. With ingredients like green tea powder, ground coffee, and blueberry jam, Kellogg’s is hoping to draw in crowds by yanking cereal out of the nostalgic cul-de-sac of childhood memories and elevating it to cuisine sought out long after the breakfast hour ends.

“I believe in the excitement a bowl of cereal can bring any time of the day,” Tosi said, adding she’s remained a cereal lover long past her childhood. “I’m so excited to bring back a household staple in a fun, creative way!”

CHEN rajendra kellogs copy
Following his nose, Ravi Rajendra picks up his order from a red cupboard. | JACKSON CHEN

The cereal manufacturing giant teamed up with Tosi and Anthony Rudolf and Sandra Di Capua of Journee, a restaurant consulting company that was given authority over the space’s design. According to Kellogg’s, everything from the simplistic venue design of white brick walls and black chalkboards, to the perfect spoon size, was tackled by Journee.

The Kellogg’s focus on details extends, as well, to cereal’s best friend, with the milk sourced from Five Acre Farms, a company that boasts local production from upstate Salem and Storrs, Connecticut.

While the cereal café is only just in its infancy, the fan favorite award seems to have been all but awarded already to Tosi’s “Pistachio & Lemon,” a medley of original Special K, Frosted Flakes, pistachios, lemon zest, and thyme. Many cereal samplers compared the flavor to roasted chicken as the aromas of citrus and herbs hit the nose just before the first spoonful.

But for prospective customers who still crave the fruity, sugary simplicity of cereal, the café’s offering of “Life in Color” with Froot Loops, marshmallows, passion fruit jam, and lime zest may deliver the desired balance between a childhood and an adult mindset.

After ordering his fruity cereal mix, Ravi Rajendra, a tourist from Montgomery, Alabama, was summoned by buzzer to the large chalk drawing of Toucan Sam. The mascot instructs customers to “Follow Your Nose,” but they are actually directed to numbered red cupboards that dispense their orders.

“I’ve always been a big cereal fan, and it’s what I have for breakfast most days,” Rajendra said, adding that he too started the habit as a kid. “Now that I’ve grown up, it’s really cool to have a more adult-type cereal.”

Rajendra said the simplicity of the recipes at the café might well inspire him to spruce up his breakfasts at home.

The new Kellogg's Cafe at Broadway and 49th Street officially opens on July 13. | JACKSON CHEN
The new Kellogg’s café at Broadway and 49th Street officially opens on July 13. | JACKSON CHEN

Kellogg’s is backing up its bet that it can carry cereal past the morning hours by offering four varieties of ice cream sundaes –– including Honey Buzz, that features a fetching combo of Honey Smacks, honey, toasted pecans, and banana chips.

And adventurous patrons can “raid the pantry,” designing their own cereal concoctions with a list of ingredients including all of the Kellogg’s brand cereals, a variety of fruits, several nuts and seeds, and even a Pop-Tarts crumble.

Becky Jones, who was with her family in visiting from Jacksonville, Florida, designed her own bowl, but with a restrained, toppings-free approach of Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, and Froot Loops.

Becky’s siblings, SJ and Terrell, explained that they were raised on Kellogg’s brand cereals during their youth. While the family stuck with fairly conservative choices, SJ said she’d be willing to try the ice cream variations as a dessert item.

“For breakfast, you want to go in for what you’re expecting at the first start of the day,” she said. “But if I came here after dinner and I wanted something sweet, I’d try some of the bigger, more festive options.”

To keep up with the ever-changing tastes of Times Square, the cereal café’s menu will rotate every three months. A delivery service is also planned, due to launch later this year.

Locally-sourced milk from Five Acres Farms is also part of the draw. | JACKSON CHEN
Locally-sourced milk from Five Acre Farms is also part of the draw. | JACKSON CHEN