East Village dwellers and window shoppers are in for a sweet treat with the latest addition to the neighborhood.
If the warm smell of baked cinnamon doesn’t pull you in, a peek in the windows at 505 E. Grand Ave. is sure to do the trick. Under an industrial-sized whisk encompassing a hanging lightbulb, a case of cinnamon rolls dripping with frosting and piled high with an unthinkable amount of toppings beckon passersby.
It’s there that Cinnaholic opens its doors this Friday, April 8. Popularized by an appearance on “Shark Tank” in 2014, the gourmet cinnamon roll franchise boasts more than 60 locations across the United States and Canada. Local franchisers Shane and Erica Shouldeen have been preparing their team to open the 66th location — the first in Iowa — with $1 cinnamon rolls for in-store customers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on opening day.
The rolls, as big as a fist, are a feast for the eyes. Whether it’s the classic cinnamon roll glazed in a cream cheese-like vanilla frosting or the s’mores roll with an inch-high pile of graham cracker crumbles, marshmallows and chocolate sauce, each order is made fresh in the store daily.
Cinnaholic is a 100% vegan bakery, but the made-from-scratch desserts are for even the most committed meat eaters, Shouldeen said. Even with no butter or eggs in the baking process, Cinnaholic’s signature cinnamon rolls remain airy and soft with a warm, gooey center spiral. They are melt-in-the-mouth fluffy with no sacrifice of flavor.
“They’re just cinnamon rolls, the only difference is if you have a dairy allergy or an egg allergy, we’re allergen-friendly,” Shouldeen said.
What’s on Cinnaholic’s menu?
Six signature rolls anchor the large menu, and seasonal flavors as well as local creations will be on rotation. Customers can pick from any available roll or make their own, choosing from dozens of frosting flavors and toppings. From there, the menu branches out to brownies, cookies, cinnacakes, mini cinnamon rolls (called Baby Buns), edible cookie dough and gluten-free oat milk soft serve ice cream that spirals just so into a cup or cone and is as creamy as its dairy counterpart.
Why Des Moines Cinnaholic owners opened in East Village
Opening Cinnaholic is an investment in the neighborhood the Shouldeens live in and love, Shane Shouldeen said. The couple will often be in shop working alongside their team, and they hope to eventually run customer contests to find the next best flavor.
Erica, an Urbandale native, was dancing for the Barnstormers and completing her marketing degree at Drake University when she met Atlanta transplant Shane Shouldeen, a Marine Corps veteran who was working as a marketing consultant for brands at the Iowa Speedway. Not only did they fall in love; the pair realized they worked well as a business team and began a marketing consulting company together.
After living in Atlanta for several years, the Shouldeens returned to Iowa in 2017. Erica had been experimenting with veganism, and with research into the lifestyle, an initially hesitant Shane was convinced it could be a sustainable long-term dietary change. Getting to mix both their passion for veganism and their interest in operating a business, Shane said, has been a dream.
“We realized our best life is working together…so we found something we are passionate about that we can do together,” Shane Shouldeen said.
Cinnaholic hours, delivery options
Cinnaholic is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. After opening week, online ordering, catering and delivery service through Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and ezCater will be available.