Aug. 16, 2012 at 4:04 PM ET
Hungry travelers looking for a quick airport snack might someday notice a curious smell wafting out of Cinnabon: the savory scent of pizza. The company announced Tuesday that a Cinnabon concept bakery-café in Atlanta has started cranking out Pizzabons, the latest incarnation of the company’s classic cinnamon rolls, along with other experimental snacks like cupcakes and sandwiches.
The announcement met with some head scratching online, as some wondered why the baked goods chain would venture into pizza. And even Cinnabon president Kat Cole says she was skeptical at first.
“At first I said absolutely not. It’s so weird, and I don’t even get it,” she told TODAY.com. But it only took one bite to convince Cole to push the project through, and now it's being sold.
So what exactly are Pizzabons? They’re the same size as the chain’s Minibons and made from the same dough. But there’s not a trace of cinnamon inside these cheesy rolls. Instead, they’re filled with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices and topped off with pepperoni bits.
The result? So far Atlanta’s Cumberland Mall is the only source of Pizzabons, though Cole told TODAY.com that she thinks the reimagined roll will have a home in travel centers someday, “where people want the one-stop shop.”
Atlanta-based food blogger Todd Brock is one of the few who have already sampled the hybrid roll — and it doesn’t seem like he’ll be stopping in for another anytime soon.
“It reminded me of those homemade pizza treats that Mom cobbled together with a tube of refrigerated dough and a jar of sauce when you had a sleepover,” Brock wrote in a review on Serious Eats.com. “All of the ingredients were there, but with a disproportionate amount of dough.”
And Atlanta magazine's food writer Wyatt Williams wasn't a fan either. "Each element of this is distinct: pepperoni like a leathery strip of salt-fat, cheese that has more in common with solidified grease than a dairy product, and tomato sauce that bears little resemblance to the flavor of any tomato I’ve ever met."
He hilariously concludes that, "The Pizzabon is the Honey Boo Boo Child of food."
Despite the lukewarm reception from some foodies, Cinnabon is hoping its foray into such savory eats will help customers look beyond the company’s namesake dessert.
“Everyone knows us for cinnamon rolls, but we put different stuff in them all the time, from apples to bacon and bourbon,” she said. “It wouldn’t make sense for us to start selling normal hamburgers, but when we can make it rolled up in a bun it starts to make sense.”
The calorie-conscious should be pleased to hear it’s only 290 calories, a more waist-pleasing alternative than the Classic Roll’s 880.
Want to try it yourself? Those living in the Atlanta area can stop by Cinnabon this Saturday for free Pizzabons from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cumberland Mall.
Danika Fears is a TODAY.com intern who might be willing to try a Cinnabon burger if it looked like this.
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