The secret to Buddy Valastro's success? “I’m not a diva, you know?” he says. “I’m just a baker from New Jersey.”
But this baker from New Jersey’s reality TV show, Cake Boss on TLC, is shown in 187 countries around the world. People wait in line for hours to get into Carlo’s Bakery, his Hoboken sweet shop, and his two cookbooks have been bestsellers.
So when Valastro announced last September that he was opening a Carlo’s Bakery in Ridgewood, people took notice. Would there be a line around the corner here, in Bergen County? Where would people park? And most importantly, why Ridgewood?
“I grew up in Bergen County, in Little Ferry,” explains Valastro, “and I wanted to get a place up that way because it’s a little bit of a hike from there to Hoboken. And Ridgewood has a great downtown, a great community. I feel like Hoboken’s community has changed. It’s not as many families; it’s more single people. I feel like Ridgewood is kind of like Hoboken was years ago, having a lot of families.”
The big news is that the Ridgewood location is the first of many new Carlo’s Bakeries, says Valastro: “I want to get the system down right, make sure the quality is the same and if all goes well, potentially keep growing from there.”
The layout of the new shop is totally different from the original Carlo’s Bakery, with an open kitchen so patrons can see the baking being done in the back. And there is a “cake bar” where customers can walk right up and have a cake made to their specifications, picking the flavor, filling and how they want it decorated, then watch it happen. “It’s a new concept that I’ve always dreamed of doing,” says Valastro. “People love to see cake decorating. They’re intrigued by it. So this is a great way to see it while having your birthday cake made on the fly.”
Also new is a dedicated party room. “You know how many kids tell me they have Cake Boss birthday parties?” says Valastro. “Well, why not have one at Carlo’s Bakery? And this way Mom doesn’t have the mess at her house.”
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