Cinnamon rolls reign supreme at this Columbia, South Carolina, breakfast joint.

By Zoe Denenberg
January 10, 2020
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Jacob Timmons Sd. Professionals

I hate to break the news, but odds are that Mama’s famous homemade cinnamon rolls weren’t really homemade at all. Few are dedicated enough (or wake up early enough) to whip up cinnamon roll dough from scratch; it’s more likely that Mama’s beloved cinnamon buns came from a spiraled can of dough, baked and smeared with a thick layer of sugary icing. Don’t get me wrong: I love easy, quick-bake cinnamon rolls (a Cinnamon Roll Casserole is one of my go-to brunch shortcuts), but after tasting a real, homemade cinnamon roll, you may never be able to go back to the canned stuff.

At The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli in Columbia, South Carolina, the cinnamon rolls are made fresh every day—no shortcuts. “Our dough comes from a special Hawaiian sweet bread recipe. They are rich, flavorful, buttery, and made in house everyday,” the menu reads. These are not your doughy, from-a-can cinnamon buns: The base of Hawaiian sweet bread brings a light, fluffy texture to the rolls. “That combination with our special cinnamon sugar blend, and vanilla butter whipped cream cheese icing makes this treat you won't forget.”

The specialty cinnamon rolls come in a variety of creative flavors, like Apple Cobbler, Bananas Foster, and Wildberry Graham Cracker Crumble. For those with a sweet tooth, Strawberry Cheesecake is an all-star breakfast treat; if you don’t mind making a mess, Bourbon Caramel is the sticky, gooey cinnamon roll of your dreams. Perhaps the most interesting flavor of the bunch is Black Pepper Bacon Maple Glaze: although slightly unconventional, this savory-sweet combination is supremely satisfying.

Serving a crowd? Order the large Cinnamon Roll Deli Cake, a giant cinnamon roll that feeds 15 people. Or for mess-free serving at morning meetings, ditch the bag of bagels and pick up a box of a dozen mini cinnamon rolls.

WATCH: This Texas Café Serves 3-Pound Cinnamon Rolls

Although The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli is known for its cinnamon rolls—it’s in the name, after all—the local spot also draws customers for its expertly-crafted breakfast and lunch offerings. Craving savory and sweet? All of the restaurant’s breakfast specialties—from egg sandwiches to grits bowls—come with a mini cinnamon roll. Because you deserve dessert with all 3 meals of the day.

While there are hundreds of ways to load up a grits bowl, the Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli may have cracked the code with its weekends-only special: Pimiento Cheese Grits Bowl. It combines our favorite Southern specialties—pimiento cheese and grits—and comes with a shining sunny-side up egg on top. We can’t think of a better way to start the morning (or the afternoon: breakfast is served all day).

The daily grits specials are certainly a treat, but the menu mainstays—grits bowls with chili, Low Country jumbo shrimp, or BBQ pulled pork—stand out on any day of the week. The similarly creative breakfast sandwiches feature toppings like hot pepper relish, thick black pepper bacon, or corned beef; if it’s 9 AM and you’re craving barbecue, try The Palmetto, a breakfast sandwich outfitted with 2 eggs, cheddar cheese, BBQ pulled pork, and grilled onions. And of course, the breakfast sandwiches come with a mini cinnamon roll as well.

For lunch, the NYC Pushcart Hot Dogs and sandwiches like The New Yorker (roasted turkey and corned beef or pastrami on grilled rye) pay homage to New York City, while The Carolina Slow Cooked Chili spotlights local specialties. Even the lunch specials come with—you guessed it—a mini cinnamon roll.

We're trading the canned stuff for these icing-coated, homemade cinnamon rolls from now on. Sorry Mama.