These three Utah shops are elevating a breakfast staple

Spilled Milk and Cereal Killerz turn cereal into an ice cream topping, while Stirs serves it by the bowl.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Chris Burns, owner of Cereal Killerz Kitchen in Salt Lake City, shows an ice cream treat with cereal and a Pop-Tart. Cereal restaurants are a growing trend in sweet treats in Utah.

It seems obvious to say that Utahns have a collective sweet tooth.

After all, any state that hosts the headquarters of both the TCBY yogurt chain and Crumbl cookies, and launched a national trend in “dirty” sodas, clearly has a thing for sugar.

Unsurprisingly, Utah is catching on to another sweets trend: Cereal restaurants.

Cereal has long been considered a quintessential American breakfast food. Serious Eats, an award-winning food and drink website, credits cereal for changing the traditional ideal of what constitutes as breakfast — and traces that change to companies like Kellogg’s, which now sells some of the nation’s best-selling cereals, including Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Frosted Mini-Wheats.

Some folks have been busy moving cereal from the home breakfast table to the dessert shop. Here are three Utah businesses putting their own twist on the universal breakfast food:

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Co-owner JK McKeon at Spilled Milk in Salt Lake City.

Spilled Milk Ice Cream and Cereal Bar

Locations: 907 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City; inside Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City; 1480 S. River Road St., St. George; and coming soon to Daybreak, at 4727 S. Jordan Parkway, South Jordan.

At their 9th & 9th location, Spilled Milk — which founders Marvin and Sara Philip started as a food truck in 2019 — there are a few messages on the wall, such as “Ice cream solves everything” and “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”

Both capture the shop’s top priority: Providing joy. JK McKeon, the co-owner who oversees operations, pointed to the customer wall in the back of the store, covered in black-and-white photos of customers experiencing that joy.

Over the last three years, during the COVID-19 pandemic, food establishments like Spilled Milk have dealt with a lot of stress, McKeon said. So the shop’s design focuses on destressing and living in the moment — which is why they brought back something that was once common in ice cream shops: A dine-in area.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) An Over the Rainbow, one of the signature ice cream treats at Spilled Milk.

“We were trying to do a huge push on people staying in the shop and being able to listen to the music and converse with one another and spend time together,” McKeon said.

Joy is at the heart of the Phllips’ story, McKeon said. Marvin Philip played football at Cal-Berkeley, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006, and spent a few seasons trying to land a spot on an NFL roster. But he realized he wasn’t getting to spend a lot of time with his family.

“He and Sara kind of came up with this idea that they wanted to start a business with their family, something they could do for fun,” McKeon said.

The Philips designed the menu. More recently, the shop has added different monthly flavors.

After establishing the 9th and 9th store, the company recently put a Spilled Milk location inside Vivint Arena. “What we do is take an artisanal approach to ice cream,” McKeon said, “We make the flavor on the spot for you.”

Their most popular item is the “Over the Rainbow” cone — which has Fruity Pebbles and Cap’n Crunch cereals in an orange Creamsicle cone, with marshmallows and a sour candy strip for garnish.

“That’s why we take a vanilla base, [it’s] pretty moldable when it comes to creating different flavors,” McKeon said.

As the company continues to expand — there’s a store opening soon in Daybreak, and another in the works in Cottonwood Heights — McKeon said Spilled Milk is working on a vegan recipe that can offer the same “creaminess and fulfillment” as its dairy-based ice creams.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A wall of some 50 brands of breakfast cereal, at Cereal Killerz Kitchen.

Cereal Killerz Kitchen

Location: 310 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City (inside The Local Market & Bar)

Chances are you might have come across one of Cereal Killerz Kitchen’s impressive shakes on social media. With several locations across a few states, including one on The Strip in Las Vegas, the cereal juggernaut has arrived in Utah.

Chris Burns, the owner of Cereal Killerz Kitchen, said at first he was scared to open the pop-up location in Utah — because the communities in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas are so different.

“I didn’t realize what I got myself into until I went to Vivint Arena,” he said. The amount of ice cream stands he came across was equivalent to the number of bars you see at any space in Vegas, Burns said. “I was like, ‘I think they might really like ice cream here,’” he said.

The biggest difference between the two markets, he said, is that instead of getting one or two people coming in, a family of four to five will come in and each buy something.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The S'more Money S'more Problemz shake at Cereal Killerz Kitchen.

The Utah location — within the recently opened food hall, The Local Market & Bar — features more than 50 options of cereals on the shelf. In Vegas, the number totals between 130 and 150.

Burns said the success at The Local in its first month or so, with little marketing, was a sign that the company should expand. He’s considering locations in Utah County, he said.

The most popular items at Cereal Killerz Kitchen, he said, are the specialty shakes — called Killerz Shakes. They overflow with sugary goodness outside the cups. Think Pop-Tarts, candy, cereal and more, all in — or on top of — the same cup.

Burns worked in city government for 14 years before he decided to start his own business, and settled on the idea of cereal. “I think everybody, when they’re little, [thinks] ‘Oh, let’s have a restaurant where you can just go eat a bowl of cereal,” he said.

The eatery has expanded to ice cream, coffee and other sweet treats, and their video challenges have garnered millions of views on social media, Burns said. They hope to roll out non-dairy options in the coming weeks.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Christy Green, manager at Stir's in Midvale, tidies up at the store that offers 74 cereal choices ranging from the classics to the seasonal.


Location: 7186 S. Union Park Ave., Midvale.

For straight cereal lovers, Stirs in Midvale is the place to go.

Sean Talbott, the corporate operations manager, said the concept behind the shop is simple.

“What we really were shooting for with starting Stirs was to be able to kind of bring the nostalgia of your childhood of sitting there on a Saturday or Sunday morning, eating your bowl of cereal, watching cartoons, and bring that into a retail setting where you can bring your family,” Talbott said.

The owner, Sterling Jack, grew up with seven siblings in South Jordan, and his family loves cereal. Talbott called Jack a “cereal fanatic,” because it was his favorite food as a child and still is — even though his siblings used to eat all his cereal.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The concept of Stirs in Midvale is, "to be able to kind of bring the nostalgia of your childhood," according to operations manager Sean Talbott.

Jack, as a child, cleverly tried to nab bowls as soon as his mother brought groceries home — wrapping bowls in tin foil and hiding them under the couch. Today, at the Midvale store, there’s a couch where you can find a bowl of cereal wrapped in foil.

Stirs carries around 75 types of cereal a day, Talbott said. “We carry everything from Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, [ones] that have been around forever, to holiday- and movie-themed cereal and limited-edition stuff.”

There are healthy options, including non-dairy milk and granola — and even some international cereals from Europe, South American and Africa. The menu is simple, too: Unlimited bowls to try as many combos as possible. The store has containers, like those found in M&M World, for cereal lovers of all types.

A percentage of sales from Stirs goes to their nonprofit Friends of Stirs, which donates cereal, canned goods and other perishable items to families in need in the community. The nonprofit has donated 26,000 meals since they opened in 2019, and they have a goal of 50,000 for 2023.

Stirs is also planning on opening a location on Provo’s University Parkway this summer and offers non-dairy milk options.