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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

FRESH: The Cereal Bar (AKA Happy Hour for Kids.)

This is how you get 23 preschoolers to sit still in a restaurant. (Feel free to click on the picture to get a better look.)
cerealbar
Yes.

It is a wall of cereal.

And up top, there are cartoons.

You must be thinking, "How do I get me to one of these?"

It is that cool.

I want to briefly explain that in this rare instance of sugarycerealoverflow, for a brief two hours of time on this day, I removed my normal "mom" "health" "cautious" consciousness from my body and allowed my inner 5 year old to occupy this space. Because I can only imagine what 5 year old "me" would have thought when I walked into a place with a giant wall of cereal and cartoons playing on a giant television or two. I allowed myself to feel that for this day.

We went to the Glazer Children's Museum but this was the real star of the show: a restaurant called, "Fresh," in downtown Tampa.
cerealbar1
Don't get me wrong, the children's museum was awesome and fun, but this place had a soda fountain with cream soda and black cherry soda!

I don't even remember the last time I had cream soda! Much less from a fountain!

Walking into this place was like walking into some magical cereal wonderland. The look on the children's faces when they saw the cereal wall was a look of absolute incomprehension. You could almost see the wheels turning.

Oh, a restaurant. (Looks at shoes.)

Wait. What? (Looks of wonderment.)

What is that up there? (Looks of disbelief)

Is that Fruit Loops? Is that Cocoa Puffs? Is this every type of cereal my parents won't let me have, all in one place on one wall? (Looks of astonishment)

(Am I allowed to have it?) (Looks of helpless plea-ing)

Then, the turn to mom for confirmation.

And then the mom, nodding yes.

(Looks of absolute joy and glee and overwhelming unmatched happiness!!!)

Every kind of cereal you could think of going across the wall along with two huge tvs up on top of that lovely wall that the lovely folks at Fresh turned to the Cartoon Network.

Being a class of 20-something preschool and kindergarten kids between ages 4-6 in a restaurant got us some looks from the business crowd, and yes, there was a large business crowd (the mayor of Tampa was even in there) but, I couldn't help but wonder, there is a CEREAL BAR here, how is it that WE are the weird ones?!

To Fresh's credit, the restaurant is actually a magical wonderland of paninis and salads too, I mean, every sort of pressed panini you can think of.  I had some delicious fresh mozzerella, tomato, pressed grilled melty fabulousness but I had a hard time deciding between the lovely sandwiches and the ginormous salads of love.

However, I was also really blown away by the fact that I could actually order without madness ensuing. My 5 year old was happily chomping away at his vat of cereal in a box while I had time to order, get my cream soda, actually finish my sandwich AND have an actual conversation with another parent and go get some more cream soda to go.

Now I tried to keep my mouth shut on the fact that I caught them filling up the Fruit Loops with fakey fruit rings and to be perfectly honest the fruit rings don't bother me, I just don't want to KNOW that they're fruit rings, so if they could just fill it up in the back and leave my ignorance to its bliss so as to leave the magic enchanted cereal forest unfettered and untainted, I'd sure appreciate that. Now if they could just send the mind eraser over...

Anyways, I know that this may not be the first time you've ever heard of a place like this, but it is for me!

And it was nothing short of kid/parent heaven.

(Yes, I know, I know, cereal for lunch, sugar, la la la la la not healthy, what.ever.)

This was CEREAL ON A WALL, PEOPLE!

You gotta live sometime!

And to my 5 year old whose choices are usually Cheerios, Rice Krispies or Oatmeal, that was just about the coolest thing ever.

Go to there if you get a chance.

It is way cheaper than Disney World and it yields the exact same effect.

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