- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Folks who crave snap, crackle and pop for supper can go out to have their belated breakfast treats. The Chicago-based Cereality Cereal Bar & Cafe hopes to do with cereal what Starbucks has done with coffee: create a food trend.

Dreamed up by entrepreneur David Roth, Cereality was inspired by cereal-loving characters in the NBC sitcom “Seinfeld.”

Customers who enter the company’s cafes are asked, “How do you like your cereal?” They construct customized bowls with 33 choices of hot and cold cereals, available with 34 toppings and seven types of milk. If patrons are confused by the selections, the cafe’s pajama-clad “cerealogists” will prepare the order.

On tap are smoothies such as Banana Soy Boy Booster: a combination of honey, peanut butter, soy milk, banana and wheat germ.

Each entree costs less than $4.

The idea was birthed after three years of research and development by Mr. Roth, who launched a pilot store on the campus of Arizona State University in 2003. He founded three more cafes at the University of Pennsylvania, downtown Chicago and the Pennsylvania Turnpike just outside Philadelphia.

“Happily, the need is greater than we previously thought to actively reach the 95 percent of Americans who enjoy cereal where and when they get the craving,” Mr. Roth said.

He also hired as chief operations officer Tim Casey, a former vice president of operations at Starbucks, to help sell the idea. (No word on when the idea might come to Washington.)

Cereality strives for a Saturday-morning atmosphere, stocking cabinets with familiar cereal brands. Adults can sit at a breakfast bar or join children watching cartoons on flat-screen televisions. College students can settle with their laptops for free Internet access.

The cafe is designed “to get people comfortable eating cereal away from home any time of day,” spokeswoman Lisa Kovitz said.

The cereal offerings range from healthy fruit-and-nut blends to sugar-laden treats. “This is a place about choice,” Miss Kovitz said. “You can be as healthy as you want or as indulgent as you want.”

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