On June 27, the world’s first oatmeal bar opened its doors. Affordable, creative, healthy and savory, it is conveniently located near NYU’s campus.
Owner Samantha Stephens is already receiving a rush of customers. OatMeals offers 22 signature bowls and an assortment of toppings, allowing patrons to create diverse oatmeal dishes. Toppings include fresh and dried fruits, nuts and seeds, sweet and savory items, dollops and drizzles, a variety of milks and a range of spices.
“I call it an oat-centric cafe, a single-item specialty place [based] around oats and oatmeal,” Stephens said. “All the pastries are made of rolled oats and oat flour. The ‘savory bowls’ that I’m doing [are] also perfect for lunch and dinner. A lot of people don’t know about savory oatmeal but it’s really great. It’s kind of like risotto.”
One of Stephens’ favorites from the savory bowls, the Truffle Oatmeal, is topped with truffle oil, cream and sea salt for a more hearty, Italian vibe. The eight-ounce Baby Bear size costs $3.50, and the 16-ounce Papa Bear is only $5.50.
Tisch sophomore Carlos Perez enjoyed the calm, friendly atmosphere of the cafe after trying the Canadian Oatmeal, topped with bacon, cheddar, roasted apples, maple syrup and sea salt.
“I thought my oatmeal was very creative,” Perez said. “It’s definitely not something I would come up with. I did find it to be a little overwhelming in the morning, but it doesn’t turn me away from OatMeals. I would like to come back to try something else.”
A Baruch graduate, Stephens has been an advocate for oatmeal ever since she was a college student.
“When I was in college, I loved the food in New York. But I also put on a lot of weight my first year. I was trying to get back into shape by eating healthy and exercising,” she said. “I started eating oatmeal. The health benefits got me really excited about it, and I started looking for ways to jazz it up. I started eating it for breakfast and dinner.”
OatMeals also sells a variety of pastries — Oatmeal Muffins and Oatmeal Cookies are some popular choices. However, the Oatmeal Croissants are what sets this cafe apart from other locations in Greenwich Village.
“You don’t really find oatmeal croissants anywhere else,” Stephens said. “The other pastry chef and I took a long time to develop that recipe because oat flour doesn’t have a lot of gluten.”
OatMeals also supports sustainability. Stephens proudly said in support of local farmers, all of the oats for OatMeals are sourced from a farm upstate. She hopes to provide the berries and other fruits from local farmers as well.
After taking recreational classes from the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Stephens is also in tune with the pace of NYU’s campus.
“The foot traffic here is really unbeatable,” Stephens said. “I’m really excited for the students coming back for school. I think it will be a good hangout place. I have Wi-Fi.”
OatMeals is located on 120 W. 3rd St., between MacDougal and 6th Avenue. You can find the hours at oatmealsny.com.
A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 4 print edition. Michelle Lim is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.
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