Whether popped from a can or purchased at a store, cinnamon rolls have become more than a breakfast treat.
The sweet sunrise meal has morphed into a snack time staple for mall-goers, and access to the cinnamon and dough concoction topped with creamy, melty frosting is now easier than ever. But, many may be shocked to know that a classic Cinnabon cinnamon roll sets sugar-seekers back 880 calories, or 44 percent of the average person’s daily caloric intake. While that in and of itself will never be enough of a reason to stop eating cinnamon rolls completely, there is a better choice on the market, and it’s coming to Downtown San Jose on April 27.
The Atlanta, Ga-based Cinnaholic offers nearly the same confection at a fraction of the calories. Other than the fact that a basic Cinnaholic cinnamon roll shaves more than 30 percent, or over 250 calories, off the cinnamon roll standard, uses beet sugar and molasses, the real shift in the makeup of a Cinnaholic cinnamon roll is that it’s 100 percent vegan. Gone are the days of vegan sweets being flavorless and unappealing.
The new wave of animal-free desserts is sure to convert even the most confirmed meat eaters—at least when it comes to dessert.
There’s nothing about a Cinnaholic cinnamon roll that screams bland or boring. The Cinnaholic website lists 18 possible frosting flavors—everything from vanilla to amaretto, and cream cheese to chai—and 21 toppings so customers can top their roll with chocolate frosting, graham cracker cookies and caramel sauce for a Cinnaholic Twix or coffee frosting, house-made chocolate chip cookie dough, caramel sauce and chocolate sauce for a Cookie Dough Caramel Mocha Roll. The possibilities are endless and there’s no wrong way to build the perfect roll.
“You have to try it,” said Xicayan “Zeke” Posadas, who owns the new San Jose franchise with his wife Lizzeth. “You look at them and they look like any other cinnamon rolls, but once you get it, you know it’s good stuff … It’s amazing.”
Posadas, an Archbishop Mitty graduate who briefly attended San Jose State University, said he and his wife became interested in the concept after watching the episode of Shark Tank where the brand was featured.
As a vegan himself, Posadas said he was particularly drawn to Shannon Michelle and Florian Radke’s pitch, and after noticing there was a location in Berkeley, he implored his wife to make the trek. After trying the product, he was sold and while browsing the website, noticed Cinnaholic was franchising. On a whim, he inquired about the startup fees and additional associated costs. Within the hour, he was on the phone with corporate and ready to buy in.
“We signed up two and a half years ago—back in 2016 or so—and it took us forever [because Cinnaholic isn’t a well-known brand],” said Posadas, “It has been a rough road, but it’s been worth it.”
Now, Posadas is on the verge of opening the first South Bay Cinnaholic location at 115 E. San Carlos St. (at 3rd) and he believes in the concept so much, he and his wife have already signed up for two additional Silicon Valley franchise locations.
“We feel really strong about it,” he said. “It’s half the calories than a traditional cinnamon roll. You can customize it in a million different ways and you don’t have to drive all the way to Berkeley to get it.”