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You’ve read the online rants and raves about my visit to the Cereal Bowl. Now here are a few of the e-mail comments from readers, who, by and large, don’t seem to foam at the mouth as much as the anonymous online community.
I’ll start off with this polite note from Kenneth Rader, the president, CEO, and founder of the Cereal Bowl:
I just came across you recent article describing your recent visit to our DC location. I was disappointed to read you review and hope you would give our establishment another chance. I think you may have been interested to try some of our more propritary items, like our oatmeal smoothies and espresso drinks.
Regarding the constant mention of slow traffic in the location, you must remember that it was Easter Sunday, a day most restaurants and businesses close entirely. Our DC location has been averaging over 400-500 customers daily since opening a few weeks ago.
A number of e-mailers commented on the business folly of the Cereal Bowl, such as Ashlee V. Hodge, who wrote:
Nearly every component of the “Cereal Bowl” concept screams massive fail to me. The location, the lack of an appropriate clientele, the food itself… it just sounds like an idea that stoner college kids have come up with millions of times, then just gone to the campus cafeteria and realized everything they wanted was already there. It doesn’t even work as a post-drinking spot— loads of milk on top of loads of alcohol? No thanks. I can see how it might be a good spot for parents and kids, but overall, the novelty of this store is going to wear off really quickly.
Katie Fahey wrote that she was expecting a more adult take on breakfast foods:
I’m replying in reference to the cereal bowl bc I was one of those customers who walked in, observed, and walked out. I actually anticipated trying it for a week bc I was unable to make the grand opening. Huge disappointment! What I thought was going to be a great place for breakfast and coffee is really an after school hangout for children. From the menu options to the atmosphere, this establishment has clearly been designed to appeal only to teens/kids. The froyo idea is great for after dinner, but I would rather go up the street just to avoid seeing the young girl w no personality stand behind the counter in her pjs looking as though she just got out of bed and staring me down dazed as though she is sleep walking. Nobody greeted me, connected to see what I might be interested in, and no recovery when I turned around to walk out. As I toured the street afterwards, I thought the create your own box idea might be fun for a gift, but I agree w you. The Cereal Bowl is not a restaurant.
Nicholas Alexiou, on the other hand, thinks I missed the entire point of the Cereal Bowl, which maybe I did:
I think you are a bit off in your review of the Cereal Bowl. One goes there not to experience a quality meal, but rather, to relive their youth and re-create experiences that they would have elicited scorn at a younger age. While I have yet to visit the new Cleveland Park store, I grew up in Miami, home of the original Cereal Bowl franchise (not surprisingly, it was across the street from the University of Miami). When I would visit my parents, I would stop into the Cereal Bowl and would find myself transported back to my youth. However, this transportation came with a twist. I wasn’t just my eight year old self, instead, I was my eight year old self with a wallet full of money and lacking adult supervision. My two favorite menu staples at the Cereal Bowl is the “Give Me S’More” and “The Dirt Bowl.” The latter is a combination of Cookie Crisp cereal, Oreo Cookies, Chocolate Syrup, and Gummy Worms. Add to that a dose of Whole Milk, and you create something akin to the haphazard creations of one’s youth. But as a child, such a meal would have elicited scorn from my parents (for obvious reasons, a recitation of the ingredients alone could result in adult onset diabetes). But for a few minutes, I can enjoy this bowl of wonderful, without any external judgment or rules. Not to mention, it doesn’t taste half bad.
Finally, one writer noted my passing reference to Adams Morgan as a more proper location for the Cereal Bowl. Lisa Duperier accused me of perpetuating a stereotype about Ad-Mo:
Enjoy your work, but was saddened to see your gratuitous negative reference to Adams Morgan — which added nothing to your post about the Cereal Bowl. Adams Morgan has just as many interesting and quality restaurants as Cleveland Park. And offhandedly stating, “maybe even in a post-collegiate bar district like Adams Morgan” wrongly characterizes the wonderful range of food available in terms of price and type and style that is available here. Some of the more recent additions here are the AM Wine Shoppe, Black Squirrel, Casa Oaxaca, Napoleon’s, Saweh Diner, Savour Restaurant, etc. And these join Perry’s, Jyoti, Grill from Ipanema, Cashion’s, La Fourchette, Bourbon, Duplex Diner, L’enfant Cafe, El Tamarindo, etc. truly too many to name. It is unfair to discourage people from coming to Adams Morgan with such an offhand comment, which unfortunately then gets picked up and repeated in google and yahoo searches about Adams Morgan.
P.S. we don’t deny that post-collegiate atmosphere exists on 18th St during good weather late night on Fridays and Sats after 11 pm and until 3am, but that’s actually a small percentage of the total time that most people would partake of what Adams Morgan offers, including on Columbia Road and Florida & U Street.