No trip to the mall or airport is complete without a visit to that shrine to the noble cinnamon bun: Cinnabon. But even if you start salivating just at the mention of it, we also guarantee that there are a whole lot of things you don’t know about this chain.
Cinnabon got its start back in 1985, when the first location opened at the SeaTac Mall just outside Seattle. The only offering on the menu was the Cinnabon Classic cinnamon roll, but it was enough to develop a loyal following of fans who flocked there for the sweet, sticky deliciousness we’ve now come to know so well.
Contrary to what most people think, Cinnabon wasn’t founded by a lone enterprising baker who wanted to share a family recipe with the world; it was the product of months of exhaustive research by Rich Komen and Ray Lindstrom, who already ran a Seattle company called Restaurants Unlimited when they set out to create the recipe for “the world’s best cinnamon roll.” This led to hundreds of experiments, which I think we can safely say have paid off handsomely. They did bring on board a local Seattle baker (whom you’ll read about later) to help with the recipe, though.
The history of Cinnabon follows a familiar chain success story: Franchises were launched, new items like the Caramel Pecanbon (1997), Chillattas (2005), and the “Center of the Roll” (2010) were added, and over the years it worked its way into our hearts, both figuratively and literally. But between the flaky layers of buttery, cinnamon-sugar-slathered pastry, there’s an interesting story and plenty of twists and turns along the way.