Love breakfast? Then, Charlotte’s latest food concept may be the spot for you.
Day & Night Exotic Cereal Bar opens on April 10 in Brevard Court in uptown Charlotte.
Founder Karmon Dupree Jr., 26, launched the brand last summer as a food truck in Los Angeles and found success as advocates called on support for Black businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Once he was ready to start franchising locations, Dupree approached his childhood friend, Greg Robinson, 26, about establishing a location in Charlotte. The two grew up in the Shaker Heights neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio — also home to rapper Kid Cudi, whose 2008 hit “Day ‘N’ Night” is the inspiration behind the cereal bar’s name.
Robinson, a first-time business owner, enlisted the help of his girlfriend Danielle Booker as co-owner of the Charlotte operation. Although this is her first venture into the food industry, Booker, 30, has previous business experience as owner of Bleu Touch Massage & Bodywork Therapy.
Guests can choose from a menu of pre-made bowls, such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (Froot Loops, Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes) and “Marty McFly” (Apple Jacks, Froot Loops with Gummy bears), or build their own bowl with classic staples and specialty brands. Dupree says at last count there were nearly 100 different customizable combinations.
Bowls start at $7 with milk options that include whole, skim, almond and oat. Day & Night will also offer $8 milkshakes mixed with your favorite cereal.
QCity Metro caught up with the trio ahead of their grand opening. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q. What was the interest in bringing the idea to Charlotte?
Greg: I’ve been on top of the concept of what [Karmon’s] got going on in L.A. When I would go out there and see him, I’d pull up on the truck to get a visualization. I’d see how people are interacting, from kids to parents.
It just gave me a different feeling inside, and to know that I can bring that out here in Charlotte, I feel that’s what’s missing. Especially as a Black owner, I feel like we’re adding to the culture. Being here in the storefront, I see people walk by and look at our sign and smile.
Karmon: It never gets old. It’s like seeing that same person turn into a kid. It’s kind of cool to be recognized for something positive, something creative, something we can take into many communities and share a smile or laugh over a bowl of cereal.
Q. Danielle, since you’ve owned a business before, what did you think when Greg first brought the idea to you?
Danielle: When he first told me about it, I loved the idea. I’m a big snacker, a big foodie. But, I’m not a person who cooks, you know? So when I first heard about it, I thought, “I could whip up a bowl of cereal quick. A milkshake? That’s easy.” [laughs]
Q. Because this is a new food concept in Charlotte, what’s exciting for you about opening day?
Danielle: Since this is our first food venture together, we really don’t know what to expect. We didn’t think it would take off the way it has. We haven’t even opened and we’re getting interview after interview, and we’re seeing all these reviews and everything.
Greg: Our goal once we open the door is to give people that personal experience of being back at home in the kitchen making your favorite bowl of cereal.
Q. Were there any concerns about starting a business during a pandemic?
Danielle: We definitely went out on faith because Covid is a scary time. It’s been a lot of ups and downs. There’s been a lot of businesses closing. You have a lot opening as well, but this alley when we first moved in, it was dead. There was no traffic. We’ve been out on faith just hoping things go somewhat back to normal. But it’s tough.
The timing of our grand opening is perfect with the curfew changed and people getting the vaccines and coming out more. My mom always told me things will fall into place. At first, it was frustrating, but as soon as we found a spot, everything just fell into place.
Q. Of course I have to ask, what’s your favorite cereal?
Karmon: Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’ve grown to love Frosted Flakes. I wasn’t a big Lucky Charms fan growing up, but it’s made my top five.
Danielle: People say I’m an old lady when it comes to cereal. [laughs]
I love Frosted Flakes, Honey Bunches of Oats, Raisin Bran. I do enjoy Fruity Pebbles.
Greg: I love all cereal, but since the Dunkaroos just came back out, I’m in love with the Dunkaroos cereal right now. I’m also the type to slice a banana in my Frosted Flakes.
Q. How do you choose which cereals to stock? Is it based on your personal preferences, popular brands or brands that are more exclusive?
Greg: It’s a combination of all three. We’ll have your basics, like Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms. Then, we’ll step it up a notch with something like the [Cap’n Crunch] Blueberry Pancake Crunch…
Danielle: Something you can’t go to Harris Teeter and find.
Greg: …and it’ll come down to fan favorites. If somebody comes in and asks about a cereal, maybe we’ll consider and add it as an option.
Q. We also love to see couple-preneurs, so Greg and Danielle, these quick-fire questions are for you. How long have you been together?
Danielle: Since November 2019
Q. How did you meet?
Danielle: On Instagram. I call it a 2020 love story. [laughs]
Q. So who slid into the DMs first? [everybody laughs]
Greg: [raises hand] I slid in her DMs. It didn’t get read for about a month though.
Q. When it comes to doing business together, how do you balance your personal vs. professional relationship?
Greg: We’re learning as we go along. Luckily, I’ve got my right-hand man here [Karmon] keeping my head on my shoulders when it comes to the business. He’s been a major help for both of us.
This is all new, so it’s a day-by-day thing as well. We don’t put too much pressure on ourselves. I always tell her it’s trial and error with everything because you never know.
Danielle: At the end of the day, I’m like, ‘Baby, we can get through anything.’
Q. What advice would you tell other potential business owners?
Danielle: Just do it. Scared money don’t make money.
Karmon: Yep. You can only learn and grow.
Day & Night Exotic Cereal Bar opens to the public at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, at 127 Brevard Ct. For more information, visit dayandnightcereal.com.