Cinnaholic promises sweet and discounted treats in Evanston


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

Cinnaholic treats sit on the table. Cinnaholic participated in Big Bite Night earlier this month, offering free samples of its cinnamon rolls and cookie dough.

Khadija Ahmed, Reporter

With 18 frosting flavors, 25 topping choices and a 100% vegan menu, the possibilities are plentiful at Cinnaholic Evanston.

Phillip Morales co-owns the Evanston location of the franchise along with his mother and cousin. After building on the success of their first location in Schaumburg, the management hopes to make a place for itself in Evanston after its Aug. 6 opening.

The Cinnaholic chain appeared on “Shark Tank” in 2014, where the idea for vegan cinnamon rolls caught the judges’ attention. While the co-founders did not ultimately take the offer they received on the show, the chain now includes dozens of locations nationwide and in Canada, with more set to open this winter.

Some Northwestern students are already familiar with Cinnaholic from its Sept. 14 appearance on North Area Lawn, when the shop gave free samples to students.

Weinberg freshman Monica Jones said she waited in line for over an hour to secure a cinnamon bun. 

“We got there right when it started and there was still a pretty long line,” Jones said. “I’m not normally super interested in cinnamon buns, but that one was pretty good. Also, the frosting was really good, which was surprising because I really don’t like frosting, but it was a nice sweetness.”

The shop also wants to sweeten the deal for NU students by giving them a 20% Wildcard discount.

Morales has his own personal favorites from the store, including the banana cream pie version of the cinnamon roll. 

“Our chocolate chip banana bread was a seasonal item, but it tasted amazing and people kept coming back for it. It’s my staple breakfast item with my coffee at this point,” Morales said.

The Evanston location also participated in Big Bite Night, which handed out free samples Oct. 3 to introduce new NU students to local businesses.

The day after, Cinnaholic stores across the nation offered a buy one, get one free discount on cinnamon rolls in honor of National Cinnamon Roll Day.

“It’s nice that there’s all these events that are giving us exposure so that students know where we’re at,” Morales said. “I just invite everyone to come on in.”

Weinberg freshman Cara Chang previously visited the Schaumburg location near her hometown because it was offering cinnamon rolls for $1. Now that she’s at NU, she’s eager to visit the Evanston location as well. 

“When they made their Instagram account for Cinnaholic in Evanston, I followed them even before they opened,” Chang said.

In addition to expanding its fanbase, the Schaumburg location helped the Evanston owners acclimate to running a business during a pandemic. Morales said they will continue to take safety measures seriously for both customers and staff.

At the time the Evanston location opened, the city’s mask mandate had just been reinstated. The management made sure its employees knew the importance of masks and did its best to make sure customers were aware as well, Morales said.

COVID-19 challenges aside, when it came to choosing a new location, Morales said Evanston felt like the perfect place. 

“We knew it would fit, especially in the downtown area,” Morales said. “We knew that the area had been hit hard by the pandemic, but we just felt like we could go in there and help bring things back.”

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