New Cinnaholic brings gourmet cinnamon rolls to downtown Ann Arbor

“It’s not the best vegan cinnamon roll, it’s THE best cinnamon roll.”

Rolls from the new Cinnaholic Ann Arbor location. (Cinnaholic Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A new bakery has curious community members lining up along sidewalks downtown.

Located at 121 E. Liberty St., Cinnaholic boasts of ginormous signature rolls, seasonal favorites and Tree Town-inspired bites, like the “Ypsi Berry” and the “Go Blue.”

The international chain now has its only Michigan store right here in Ann Arbor thanks to owners Deborah Bonar, Doug Moeller and their bulldog, Gemma.

Visitors can customize their own rolls by picking and choosing from the store’s 20 flavors of frosting and toppings.

Those with a large appetite can try out the “Big House” with its mountain of frosting, chocolate chip cookie dough, brownie bites, cookie bites, sprinkles and more.

Bonar and Moeller first experienced the franchise in Berkley, California. As longtime vegans, the two would have to drive an hour to satisfy their sweet tooth.

In 2017, fires caused the couple’s home in northern California to burn down. They decided to uproot and move to Ann Arbor after a Michigan-based company bought Moeller’s startup.

“We just love it here. The weather has been a little challenging, I’m not going to lie,” Bonar said. “But the people are so friendly, and we just love it.”

Cinnaholic Ann Arbor owners Doug Moeller and Deborah Bonar with their dog Gemma in front of the Big House. (Cinnaholic Ann Arbor)

And that friendliness has carried over to reception of their new bakery. During its first week, Cinnaholic Ann Arbor had lines of hungry customers out the door and down the sidewalk, breaking records for the dessert franchise, Bonar said.

“The reception has been wonderful. I never imagined it would be this great,” she said. “The cool thing about it is that we’re not just getting vegans or people allergic to dairy, we’re getting people who come just because they’ve heard about it.”

Within its first week, the bakery even had to close early after running out of flour, sugar and vegan butter due to making so many rolls.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think the response would be as good as it is. It’s just been wonderful,” Bonar said.

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Although the brand’s vegan status gives it a boost in Ann Arbor—one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the US—Bonar doesn’t want her Cinnaholic to be known as just a vegan bakery.

“I think my greatest joy is having people have a bite of our cinnamon roll and say it’s the best cinnamon roll they have had and not process that bite as vegan. It’s not the best vegan cinnamon roll, it’s THE best cinnamon roll.”

It’s been fun for her to see people experience the brand that she loves and her bakery’s products.

In addition to cinnamon rolls, Cinnaholic Ann Arbor sells plant-based Dole Whip, brownies, cookies, edible cookie dough and banana bread.

Bonar added that the eatery plans to create specific rolls that will benefit local organizations. Proceeds from the bakery’s soft opening went to the Humane Society of Huron Valley and it is partnering with the University of Michigan running club soon.

Cinnaholic fans can also anticipate photo opportunities with Gemma, the store’s adorable mascot, and holiday goodies like a Valentine’s Day box.

Visit the Ann Arbor store every day of the week between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. on East Liberty Street.

Customers order inside the Cinnaholic Ann Arbor location. (Cinnaholic Ann Arbor)

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.