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FRIDAY FLAVOR: Cinnaholic in Virginia Beach serves up vegan cinnamon rolls

Two locals are working to make sure there's an inclusive spot for every kind of sweet tooth.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — AJ and Margery Ellis knew they wanted to bring something unique to Hampton Roads. Then, they stumbled upon the Cinnaholic franchise, and it all clicked. 

"We were looking at it, and we were like, wow, customizable cinnamon rolls. And then, on top of that, it's vegan, which is amazing. We were just like, 'There's nothing like that around here.' We were like, 'People would love it,'" Margery said.

So, in 2020 they started the groundwork to bring a Cinnaholic to the 757. It would be the first of its chain in Virginia. 

"I grew up in Hampton Roads, and I've always wanted to bring something fun and exciting to this area, and I finally had a chance to do it," AJ said. 

Though plans started in 2020, they didn't open until April 2022. 

"It's been like an out-of-body experience once we finally opened," Margery said. "Because of the support -- and many people who came on grand opening day -- were out of this world. It was crazy, so we're very thankful."

It's no surprise people love it.

"You can't be sad when you're buying cinnamon rolls," AJ laughed. 

They serve cinnamon rolls that are, yes, vegan! But you couldn't tell by the amazing taste. And, without dairy and eggs, the dessert is open to people who are usually barred from the treats because of allergies.

"When children come in here, their mother's like, 'Oh my goodness, I couldn't find a place for my child to eat and come for dessert everywhere we go, we have to ask a thousand questions.' So, now they come here, and they can get whatever they need," AJ smiled and nodded with pride.

This isn't your average roll. They are large and in charge, with your classic roll and then specialty rolls, like the "cookie monster."

"The cookie monster is amazing. That's one of our top sellers," Margery said. 

It's a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting, cookie dough, chocolate chips, and chocolate sauce. 

"And then the caramel apple pie. Those two for sure, I would say, are the go-to's," Margery nodded. 

As for her husband, AJ: "I'm an apple pie fan, so the caramel apple pie for me," he said. 

The caramel apple pie is a cinnamon roll with caramel frosting, fresh apples, pecans, pie crumble, and caramel sauce. However, AJ had an insider's tip.

"Instead of the caramel frosting, I usually switch it with the cream cheese frosting," he said. 

If their set menu isn't striking your fancy, you can always create your own roll! They have a build-your-own option with fruits, chocolate wafers, cookie dough, walnuts, pecans, and more.

The options are endless at Cinnaholic, and not just when it comes to building a cinnamon roll.

"We have baby buns, brownies, of course, cinnamon rolls. We do the magic cookie bars," AJ turned to look at the long menu and continued, "Cinnadoodle cookies, chocolate chip cookies, pretty much something for everybody," he laughed. 

They also have cakes and Dole Whip, like a fruit sorbet. 

For this couple, they love the food. But, what they love more, is those who walk through the door. 

"It's just the customer's reaction when they try it. Just the surprise and the excitement when they bite into the rolls," Margery smiled. 

If you would like to give Cinnaholic a try, you can visit them at 209 Central Park Ave, Virginia Beach. 

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