Restaurant Review: North Texas cereal bar delicious concept

From Golden Grahams with Cocoa Krispies and marshmallows to grits with gummy bears, Java Flakes proves cereal is more than just a great way to start off the day.This quaint cafe in Denton is marked by its wall of 30 different cereal choices, which can be mixed and combined with any of the 30 toppings, ranging from granola and dried fruit to Oreo crumbles and Butterfinger bits.

Mark Neuroth, owner of Java Flakes, stood next to the daunting wall of choices and urged me to mix and match if I wanted the optimum bowl of cereal: a process the staff walks each customer through, adding to the warm, small-town atmosphere of the restaurant.

“If you like the cereal by themselves, there’s no bad mix,” Neuroth told me.

He said he once had a customer who wanted a mix of all 30 cereals and another who wanted a dish with each of the square-shaped varieties.

Emily Crow, an employee at Java Flakes, said she usually orders a mix of Crispix and Maple & Brown Sugar Frosted Mini-Wheats with “blueberry thrill” as her topping.

However, she said many customers prefer to create a dessert with their selections including one regular customer who orders Cap’n Crunch with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

After several minutes of deliberation, I chose to mix Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Frosted Flakes and Chex with Oreo crumbles and 1 percent milk. The restaurant offers skim, 2 percent and organic milks, which Neuroth said can be steamed if you’re looking for a warm winter breakfast.

My cereal came in a large Styrofoam bowl, complete with a lid for an on-the-go breakfast, and I almost had to laugh at the sheer volume of cereal in front of me.

My mix was apparently the equivalent of about one third of a box of cereal. And while I was able to eat most of it, I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day and won’t be needing cereal anytime soon – or at least until tomorrow morning.

Though I think a drink order would have pushed me into a comatose state, the cafe offers 12 organic hot teas, fresh iced tea, smoothies, frappucinos, coffees and espressos imported from Italy.

Crow, who is also a student at the University of North Texas, said she usually steers clear of highly caffeinated drinks and dislikes the way American espresso tastes but was surprised at the smooth flavor of Java Flakes’ espresso.

“That didn’t make me want to tear my tongue out,” she said.

For someone like me who could eat cereal for breakfast and dinner, the idea of a cereal bar seems like a natural progression in restaurant development, but, Neuroth said, he was originally hesitant about it.

“It only took three months for me to seriously consider the idea,” he said with a laugh. He said his wife had seen an advertisement for a cereal bar in Arizona and thought it was a good idea for a business. The Arizona cafe has a kitchen theme where the employees wear pajamas and the cereal boxes are all in kitchen-type cabinets, but, Neuroth said, he wanted to go a different route with Java Flakes.

“No. 1, there was no way I was going to wear pajamas,” Neuroth said.

He also said he wanted customers to be able to see all of their cereal options – offerings he said were chosen based on market data from General Mills and Kellogg’s about what kind of cereal college students like.

Java Flakes has been open nearly a year and there are no signs of the experiment turning soggy.

Even if you eat cereal merely because it’s the economical college choice, this cafe offers a unique twist to the traditional coffee shop.

With a hometown feel that will strike anyone who complains about an abundance of chain restaurants, Java Flakes is well worth the drive.