We mourned the passing of The Ledbury, we gnashed our teeth when Hix closed and cried when Le Caprice capitulated. Oh, and we sort of half sighed yesterday when Cereal Killer Cafe announced it won’t be reopening.
The Cereal Killer Cafe had a simple business model: buy cereal for, like, cereal prices and then resell them to ironic hipsters at ten times the cost. But it seems even that foolproof plan isn’t corona-safe and after months of closure due to the pandemic, they haven’t reopened with the rest of London and the two cafes, in Camden and Brick Lane will now remain closed forever.
This means that East Londoners will have to turn to Weetabix and Shreddies rather than enjoying flavours like ‘Unicorn Poop’ or ‘Salty Balls’, two of the sort-of-zany flavours stocked by the shop.
Twins and founders Alan and Gary Keery announced the news on Facebook, saying “After 5.5 years we will be saying Cheerio to our Cafes, for now”. The cafes opened in 2014 to a media storm, with Cereal Killer Cafe seen as the embodiment of gentrification as they sold bowls of £3.85 cereal in one of London’s poorest neighbourhoods. There was even a mob at one point.
But however easy it is to poke fun, we should be sad that Cereal Killer Cafe is off. Firstly, it certainly didn’t deserve the vitriol levelled at it, we all know that coffee is dirt cheap and yet happily pay £3.25 for a Costa, what’s the difference? And the real villains of gentrification aren’t the shops but the property developers, the councils, landlords and the government who encourage and facilitate it.
But mainly the passing of Cereal Killer Cafe just shows us how fragile the recovery will be and underscores that we’re only at the start of all this.