TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A unique, nostalgic cafe and bar in Ybor City is bringing a bowl of cereal and Saturday morning cartoons to your meal or Happy Hour cocktail.
Cerealholic, located on N. 15th Street in Tampa, opened on Jan. 1 with a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a vast drink menu at the bar.
The whimsical location is full of 80s and 90s toys, games, and TV shows. It has cereal in almost everything, from their cocktails and “milk shots” down to their “Bedrock” chicken tenders, which are rolled in Fruity Pebbles and even have the cereal mashed up in the flour for the batter.
According to Cerealholic’s owner, Lisa Lawson, she got the idea for the location when she visited one of her children, who is in the military, stationed in London. They visited a place called “Cereal Killer Cafe” and that’s where she got the idea for a business of her own.
Previously in the hotel business for years, Lawson was furloughed. She said that’s when she and her family decided to “put all her chips in to” opening Cerealholic in Ybor City.
“I love Ybor City. I love Tampa. I’ve been in Tampa for a long time… being the hotel business, having to help people and stuff, I’ve seen a lot, so I definitely want to be part of the community to help and that’s why we chose here,” Lawson said. “[There’s a] lot of foot traffic here, the residents here, this is such a prideful little city. Tampa itself is a very prideful city, but Ybor has such a rich history and we had to be here, just had to be part of it.”
Lawson said her cafe and bar has 66 different kinds of cereal on hand. In addition to the popular “Bedrock” chicken tenders, Cerealholic sells a sandwich called “Hit the Road, Jack” which is popular amongst customers.
“It actually has Apple Jacks in the burger. It’s served with Applewood bacon. It has Monterey Jack cheese, a fried egg and it’s served on two waffle hash browns,” she explained.
Their most popular drink is also inspired by Apple Jacks. It’s called the “Drunken Apple Jack.” The cocktail is rimmed with crushed cereal and is made with Jack Daniels apple whiskey, apple brandy, ginger ale, and maple syrup. It’s top off with a skewer of Apple Jacks doused in apple whiskey.
The bar also sells “cereal milk shots,” which are made with vanilla vodka, Fireball, Rumchata, and mixed with Cinnamon Toast Crunch “dust.”
Lawson is committed to being a part of the lively Ybor City community with the events Cerealholic hosts.
Every second Tuesday of the month, the location hosts “Pride Night” with a drag queen show.
“We actually want to show pride in our community. We’re an inclusive bar, we’re an inclusive restaurant so everybody is welcome here and the drag show just brings everybody together,” Lawson said.
Cerealholic hosts a cosplay (or costume) contest every quarter, with the next event coming up in November. Lawson said vendors come to the event, and judging goes on throughout the day. They also host a “barkaholics” pet-friendly event once a month. She said their Facebook page is the best way to keep up with everything going on at Cerealholic.
Lawson wants people to know that they are kid-friendly. After 10 p.m. when their speakeasy bar opens on its first level, they try to make Cerealholic 21 and over.
“We do have a lot of people coming like, ‘are you kid-friendly?’ Because we look like we’re a bar, but I mean we’re big-kid friendly and little-kid friendly, so we’re just all-around kid-friendly,” she said.
Cerealholic is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to midnight, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.