The idea behind the Pizzabon was relatively simple. Keep Cinnabon’s signature dough, but substitute its cinnamon, sugar, and frosting for tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni bits (via Serious Eats). As common sense, Chicagoans and New Yorkers will no doubt tell you — and no matter if deep-dish or New York-style is your thing — no pie is good without a decent sauce and cheese. Cinnabon’s Pizzabon was not, however, a pizza. It was a hybrid. And to succeed in an already saturated market, the company would have had to master both Pizza Making 101 and to answer its customers’ burning questions. To hand the mic to one confused Twitter user: “Why do we need more foods that taste like pizza? Is it that hard to get pizza?”
The Pizzabon fell tragically short on all accounts. When Serious Eats tried it, it cringed at the Pizzabon’s “sprinkling of cheese in various stages of meltitude.” For his part, Kotaku writer Mike Fahey lamented that “what little cheese that hadn’t hardened into a scaly dairy shell was, at least bubbling.” As for the sauce? Fahey’s Pizzabon featured a “thin layer” in which he located a single, lonely, tomato seed. Atlanta Magazine didn’t fare better. Its reviewer, Wyatt Williams, was relieved that, in person, the Pizzabon didn’t look like Cinnabon’s advert. (Williams, had been expecting “a radioactive Twinkie with melted plastic on top.”) They were nonetheless disappointed to find out that the Pizzabon’s cheese was cousin to “solidified grease,” and wondered, sadly, if its tomato sauce deserved its namesake.