Cereal Wall

If you’re going to call yourself a “family restaurant” then it is necessary to take an in-depth look at the history of cereal and its impact on the American Life. It is woven into the landscape of American family life. Its familiar vibrant packaging and colorful characters evoke memories of Sunday morning cartoons and quick bites to eat before hustling to the school bus or catching the train to work.

Its icons and slogans stay with us from our youth well into adulthood – and our response to seeing all our childhood favorites in one place is a visceral, nostalgic, warm, and inviting. Like the smell of warm toast from the toaster or bacon in a skillet. Simply put: we are cereal. Cereal is available all day – every day. Eat it as an appetizer, meal, or dessert. A little of this… a little of that… YES you are allowed to mix and match!

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fahlstroms chicago cereal wall
cereal wall fahlstroms lakeview chicago
chicago fahlstroms cereal wall lakeview

Mid to Late 19th Century

In 1863, James Caleb Jackson, a religiously conservative vegetarian who ran a medical sanitarium in western New York, created a breakfast cereal from graham flour dough that was dried and broken into shapes so hard they needed to be soaked in milk overnight. He called it granula. John Harvey Kellogg, a surgeon who ran a health spa in Michigan, later made a version and named it granola. Using the same idea, a former Kellogg patient, C.¬W. Post, created Grape-Nuts, which would become the first popular product to offer a discount coupon.

1900s

Kellogg and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, had figured out how to make a flaked cereal they called Corn Flakes. The younger Kellogg added sugar and began mass-marketing them, including the first in-box prize. Post developed a similar cereal called Elijah’s Manna, which he later renamed Post Toasties after religious groups protested.

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1900s

Kellogg and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, had figured out how to make a flaked cereal they called Corn Flakes. The younger Kellogg added sugar and began mass-marketing them, including the first in-box prize. Post developed a similar cereal called Elijah’s Manna, which he later renamed Post Toasties after religious groups protested.

1910s

The Quaker Oats Company, which had acquired a method of forcing rice grains to explode under pressure, began marketing Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat as a breakthrough in food science, calling them the first “food shot from guns” and “the eighth wonder of the world.”

1920s

A health clinician accidentally spilled a wheat bran mixture onto a hot stove, creating what would come to be called Wheaties. (Its famous slogan, “Breakfast of Champions,” would first appear on a billboard for a minor league baseball team in Minnesota in the 1930s.) Rice Krispies, with its characters Snap, Crackle and Pop, soon became a close rival.

1930s

The Ralston Purina company introduced an early version of Wheat Chex, calling it Shredded Ralston. It was intended to feed followers of Ralstonism, a strict, racist social movement that included a belief in controlling the minds of others. (The name Chex, a rice version and the first recipe for Chex Mix would not arrive until the 1950s.)

1940s

Cheerios appeared as CheeriOats but were quickly renamed. (They would become the best-selling cereal in America, worth about $1 billion in sales in 2015. Honey Nut Cheerios, introduced by General Mills in 1979, is the brand’s most popular version.)

1950s

After World War II, cereal consumption increased with the advent of the baby boom, and sugar became a selling point. Kellogg’s invented Frosted Flakes and its pitchman, Tony the Tiger, and a new era of television advertising began. (Tony shared mascot’s duty for the brand with other characters including Katy the Kangaroo, but they were later phased out.)

1960s

Quisp, a pink-skinned alien in a green jumpsuit, became a madly popular character for the space age. He fought his rival, the miner Quake, in a series of commercials. Like Cap’n Crunch, another Quaker product from this decade, the cereals were essentially sweetened corn and oat dough formulated into different shapes. Quake was discontinued, but the saucer-shaped Quisp has been resuscitated periodically, and memorabilia remains in demand.

The welcome at Fahlstrom’s is genuine and the fish offerings are right out of the water. We started with the large, delicious oysters and delicious perfectly prepared trout. Next time I’ll try the sturgeon. Aja our waitress was informative on wine, knowledgeable about fish and delightful to talk with.
A great informal fish night out.

Magpie
The fresh seafood here is outstanding, as was the service and the atmosphere. It is worth the trip to eat here!
Roy H.
Our group had a various taste for fish and the variety of servings was great including one choosing a chicken prepared in a unique way. Service was great as was the drinks!
Mike L.

1970s

The heyday of fruit-flavored and monster cereals filled children’s bowls with Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry, General Mills products that still enjoy cultlike followings. Post’s Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles were competitors in a decade when the Federal Trade Commission began taking a harder look at how cereal companies marketed their products to children, and when granola began its commercial comeback.

1980s

Co-branding cereal was the game. Mr. T had his own, made from sweetened corn and oats and shaped like a T. (In advertisements, he pitied the fool who didn’t eat it.) Donkey Kong, Smurf-Berry Crunch and Cabbage Patch Kids cereals also appeared, along with the California Raisins, the claymation quartet that promoted Post Raisin Bran.

1990s

Puffins, a molasses-sweetened corn cereal with roots in a small Northern California natural foods bakery, debuted as organic food went mainstream and parents increasingly searched out more healthful cereals. Gorilla Munch, an organic cereal that is part of Nature’s Path EnviroKidz line, soon followed.

2000s

The battle of the virtuous cereals was on. Kellogg’s acquired the Kashi line, just one sign of the exploding market for natural and organic foods. These cereals also became targets for consumers demanding more transparency in labeling and more products without genetically modified or artificial ingredients. The current decade has been all about labeling. Cereals started being promoted as free of genetically modified organisms and gluten, or as containing specific nutrients. Even cereals like Dora the Explorer started selling themselves as whole grain.

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