WESTFIELD, NJ — They came before the sun was up, lining East Broad Street from the front door of Carlo’s Bakery all the way to the corner of Prospect Street and half way up the block and again from the front door down East Broad Street and around the corner of North Avenue, almost to Lord & Taylor, and still they were arriving.
Not only were they standing in droves, but many brought lawn chairs, having arrived even earlier in the morning and spreading out across the street from the new Carlo’s Bakery. They were waiting for the doors to open and Bartolo “Buddy” Valastro Jr. to emerge.
To foster the excitement, every now and then the bakery’s doors would open and servers would emerge with trays held high, filled with samples of baked goodies. To the dismay of many, space between the front door and the crowd was so limited that the serving trays were wiped clean within a blink of an eye by those closest and with the longest arms.
An Italian-American celebrity chef, entrepreneur and the subject of the TLC network show "Cake Boss," Valastro began working at his family’s business, Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, at the age of 11. Six years later, his life changed completely. With the passing of his dad, at the young age the age of 17, Valastro became the next “Cake Boss.”
Not only is charming Buddy the star of his own reality show, he is the master of a bakery factory located at Lackawanna Center in Jersey City. With additional space a constant issue, the “Cake Master” is now able to create an amazing quantity of his specialty cakes, as well as many other treats, for customers throughout the country, as well as in Europe and Asia.
“We are truly excited to be a part of the Westfield community,” said the charismatic star. “With the opening of Carlo’s Bakery, we created 40 new jobs. The town has been really good to us.”
And, he said, “We believe Westfield is the perfect community for our products.”
The shop is similar to the one that started it all in Hoboken, with all of the same pastries and cakes, including their famous lobster tails and cannolis. But there’s a twist—the Westfield location will also offer creations solely at this location as well as a custom cake bar like the one that was first introduced in Carlo’s Ridgewood shop.
“We believe our ‘Old-World’ bakery is exactly what you’d discover if you visited your grandmother’s neighborhood. We use only the finest ingredients in our products and are assured that they taste the best.”
And as for fans, “My show attracts the entire family,” he said. “I know I am inspiring teenagers to come to my bakery and experience our products.”
Olivia London of Scotch Plains arrived that morning at 9 a.m. “I’ve been to Ridgewood a few times,” she said. “It is always exciting.”
“My girls love the show,” said Vilma Galo of Westfield. “Every episode is exciting. We love watching them bake all different kinds of cakes and enjoy watching the many competitions.”
“Our entire family are fans of the ‘Cake Boss’ and Buddy,” said Lindsay Biebelberg of Springfield.
The word most mentioned by parents enjoying the opening was “fondant.” Typically used on many of Valastro’s novelty cakes, sugary fondant is like edible Play-Doh that can be used to create smooth surfaces on cakes and shaped into an assortment of decorations.
In an effort to continually inspire folks of all ages, including teenagers, Valastro encourages folks with ideas for “projects” to request a consultation.
“The consultation experience is one of the best parts of our business,” said the Cake Boss. “As the cake is the backdrop of any reception and the focal point of hundreds of pictures, we take great pains to make each freshly baked confection as exceptional as the event.”
According to Frank Curcio of Annandale, NJ, “Carlo’s is famous for preparing life-size images of his specialty cakes. Not only are the cakes spectacular, they are delicious. He also uses huge trucks to transport his confections.”
“When planning a special occasion, I encourage our customers to really brainstorm ideas for their perfect potential celebratory cake. Regardless of the occasion, remember, it is your event and you should look forward to something spectacular. After all, it is not just a cake, it is your special cake—your ‘moment!’”
Carlo’s Bakery is located at 21 East Broad Street in Downtown Westfield.