HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Carlo's/Cakeboss

  • 53
  • Share

I have currently lived in Hoboken for 15 Years; born and raised in Jersey City. My family has lived in Hoboken since 1910 or so. We have gone to Carlo's for as long as I can remember (I am 49 this month). All I can say is "What the...???" Lines down the block? People taking pictures outside? That hideous show? It saddens me.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. He should enjoy it while he can, cause all it is doing is ticking off the people that supported him that don't want to wait in line. As soon as the show is off the air, he better hope the regular guys return. Lord knows I haven't been since people started lining up. And his prices were through the roof anyway, so I can only imagine now.

    1 Reply
    1. re: roro1831

      Agreed. I just don't see the regulars who have gone to Carlo's for years showing up on a Saturday or Sunday to get some pastries to bring to Nonna's house and waiting in those kinds of lines. I know I won't. And when the dust settles (and you know it will) where will those regulars be? Gone on to other bakeries and nowhere in sight.

    2. I don't like Carlos - I seriously think their stuff is average at best, but for convenience sake I went there the night before Thanksgiving. Whoa!
      What a scene! It was mobbed of course, but it seemed everyone in there was a tourist....everyone had their cameras out and were taking pictures of everything - including the staff!! Yikes! WHY?????????
      Are people so celebrity crazy?? Wow. Very strange.

      2 Replies
      1. re: NellyNel

        I confess... I was one of "those people" last weekend. I love the show and wanted to see what the fuss was about. Normally I would run from a place like this, screaming all the way. But this time I didn't.
        The cannoli were very fresh and not too sweet. The chocolate mousse cake was exceptionally fresh. I got the last square of crumb cake (thereby eliminating the 1/2 hour wait for the next batch) and found it to be quite delicious. Would I wait an hour for this stuff again? Probably not. But with all the crowds and hubbub, they still manage to put out a good product.
        And I got a pic with Mauro, too (he's my favorite)

        1. re: iluvcookies

          Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! (runs screaming from the computer with hands covering ears)

          But seriously, if you think the quality is good now, you should have had the stuff from this bakery 10 or more years ago. I still cannot believe the lines to get into a place I once complained about waiting 5 minutes in line for. Oh well.

      2. I was flabbergasted when I saw this show (it came on after my MIL's then-favorite Jon and Kate) - worked in Hoboken for 10 years and patronized the bakery as little as possible. Have never thought the wedding cakes in the windows were attractive. They are scraping the bottom of the barrel for show ideas if this is the best they can come up with. And to think people are mobbing the joint - no accounting for taste...

        4 Replies
        1. re: buttertart

          I think I have been in the place twice, I have had some of his stuff at some parties at friends houses. The cannoli cake is pretty good, but for the price no way. When I got married my wife surprised me with a groom's cake. She said she went to Carlo's to price it out and was quoted something like $600. We ended up getting it elsewhere for $250. The guy is out of his mind.

          1. re: buttertart

            Unfortunately, I think what people like about the show is the Soparano's-like portrayal of the Italian-American family Buddy and his famiglia convey. If Buddy Sr. only knew what his son has done with this once-amazing bakery, he would be rolling...well, you know.

            1. re: ttoommyy

              I agree about the family portrayal - I remember Buddy Sr., he was a classy guy. The baked goods were better under his control. Was just past Carlo's last Friday (at 9 am the line was to the door, but they were always pretty busy in the am), the wedding cakes in the window are as dowdy as ever.

            2. re: buttertart

              Went to a wedding a couple of years ago (way before his FN win) where the wedding cake came from Carlo's (W98 on his display pages if you're interested in what it looked like). It was all show and no substance. Dry devil's food cake wrapped in tasteless, gluey fondant. The cost was low four-figures. For an inedible wedding cake. Ugh.

            3. I have seen him on some of the Food Network challenges - and he does some "pretty" cakes I must say...but the taste is what matters to me - and - meh!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: NellyNel

                The quality of the product used to be exceptional. In the last 10 years or so...like you said...meh. That said, the cakes that they show on TV are quite nice...much better than The Ace of Cakes. Buddy has some very talented artists working for him. The sculpted pieces, the flowers, etc. are very good quality.

              2. I work in Jersey City, and went and bought their famous crumb cake to a friend's house last labor day, because they were the only bakery I know of close to where I work. There were no lines and to tell you the truth, the cake wasn't that spectacular.

                I did think it was funny, there were no cameras in sight, but one of the women there was bragging about how she spent $5000 at the Gap, and showed her co-worker the size of the bill.

                4 Replies
                1. re: MrsT

                  I am not surprised that you were'nt impressed....thier stuff so very average....

                  $5000 at Gap???
                  GEEZ!

                  1. re: NellyNel

                    Twere ever thus...I remember conversations like this between the ladies behind the counter in the 90's.

                  2. re: MrsT

                    The line phenomena was really not in place last Labor Day. For the last few months though, it has gotten absolutely ridiculous. They've even set up barricades with police tape outside on some days.

                    Like lemmings to the sea...

                    1. re: MrsT

                      I meant to attach this with my past post.

                    2. Aaaagh! aaagh! aaaagh! I f you type in "carl" on Google the first suggestion is "carlos bakery". Not Carl Jung or Carl Sagan, or many other possibilities, Carlos Bakery!!! Beware the four horsemen.

                      21 Replies
                      1. re: buttertart

                        You're right! lol I can't stand it.

                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          Love him or hate him... if my (still imaginary) bakery came up first on a Google search I would be thrilled and jumping for joy!

                          1. re: iluvcookies

                            Precisely, it's an astonishing coup for the business.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Yep, and a business right across the street from him, La Isla, was just on Bobby Flay's throwdown for a stuffed french toast battle, which La Isla won. They serve it as part of the Sunday brunch, which required a wait before the tv exposure. This past Sunday the line was a lot longer than normal sad to say. Hopefully they don't discover that the rest of the food is great otherwise I will have to quit going there for dinner.

                              1. re: roro1831

                                Used to eat lunch there as often as possible when I worked in Hoboken and it was still "just" a lunch counter. Food was great! (Looks as if someone at the network lives in town, maybe?)

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Not sure if the person lived in town or not. I read an article before the show aired about how they got on the show. I think someone from the network was there and approached him, but I can't remember the exact details; not sure if they live here or not.

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    The Food Network studios and the kitchens where Bobby Flay does the test cooking on the show are directly across the river from Hoboken at Chelsea Market. I'm sure someone from the network either lives in Hoboken or has traveled across "the great divide" to check things out.

                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                      I'm sure lots of people that work for Flay and/or Food Network live in Hoboken or Jersey City for that matter. It's no more than a 20 minute ride by PATH (when the train runs properly). There are always lines at La Isla. I just pray they stay BYOB!

                              2. re: iluvcookies

                                It's really just a matter of how popular something is at the time. I had a small business for a few years that started with my very generic name, Tom. After a while, when you googled "Tom" my business name would pop up as one of the first few entries. It only follows that with all the attention the show and bakery is getting that this would happen.
                                It's sad, but my family has been going to Carlo's for over 50 years and now I cannot get into the place. I actually went to JC for Italian pastries the last time I needed them for a party.

                            2. re: buttertart

                              LOL
                              Last weekend I had to cross the street to avoid the crowd outside!

                              1. re: NellyNel

                                I think this past Easter weekend really took the cake...pun intended! The lines were halfway down the block, around the corner from the place!
                                The only good I see from this is that one of the most prosperous stores in Hoboken is actually a mom & pop store, while the B&N is going out of business. If only this were the trend, but we Hobokenites know it won't be.

                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                  I guess...but it just annoys me because the darn product is so average!

                                  I wouldnt even care about the popularity if the cake was good!

                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                    Actually, the bakery that used to be where Carlo's is now, Schoening's, was the best!

                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                      You would think in a city that's meant to have so much Italian roots - you'd be able to get a great cannoli!
                                      HA!
                                      I think Carlos is the ONLY Italian bakery in Hoboken...

                                      I feel the same about all the Italian deli's (MEH!) - AND Italian restaurants in Hoboken (MEH AGAIN!)
                                      None are anything special at all....Very dissappointing!

                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                        It's such a shame. At one time the quality of the bakeries and the delis was very good. I have many memories of growing up as a kid in the late 60s in Jersey City and going to Hoboken (where my Italian family's roots are in this country) to shop for meat, produce, fish, etc. It was wonderful. It's certainly not what it used to be.

                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                          I moved to Hoboken after having grown up in Brooklyn, and I expected it to be the same food-wise, but I was so shocked and dissappointed...
                                          JC is no better although where I live in the heights, we have some AMAZING Mexican and Columbian mom and pop restaurants...AMAZING!

                                          I'm sure it used to be a different story years ago....I imagine Hoboken was completely different and those old places are long gone...

                                          I recently visited an Italian supermarket in Bensonhurst and I was in my glory....what stuff!!!!
                                          I just don't understand why Hoboken doesnt have any place like that...surely the yuppies would enjoy it? No?

                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                            please, go to biancamano on washington for some amazing mozz...

                                            (been out of hoboken for 9 years now, and the food scene was much worse then. i agree RE: italian's, ricco's was one of the better places, and really wasn't anything amazing).

                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                              "I just don't understand why Hoboken doesnt have any place like that..."

                                              The exorbitant rents. "Mom & pop" stores could never afford the rent on a place in the prime locations. And if you are on a side street, off the beaten track...then you may as well not even open a store/restaurant.

                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                Let me also add that the stores that existed back in the 60s and 70s when I was a kid are gone mostly because the next generation did not want to take over the family business. They all went on to college and other careers. Interestingly enough, this also seems to be happening in Italy as well.

                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                  Yup I can see that..
                                                  But still - there ARE plently of Italian Deli's and restaurants in Hoboken - but none of them are very good, and they certainly do not carry an array of Italian products that would be pretty standard in Brooklyn. It is very frustrating!

                                                  I can't even get a rice ball in Hoboken!

                                2. re: buttertart

                                  I just did the Google search as you described...Oh, that really IS depressing. :(

                                3. Just got in from a brief visit to Hoboken: the madness continues...today, in 90-degree heat, on a nothing Wednesday, there were people lined up four abreast from the door to the street corner, being "allowed" in a few at a time. Hey people, this is a mediocre at best bakery, not the Sistine Chapel! (Also saw the delivery van for the cakes...a Mercedes-Benz....)

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    It's like that every single day, go figure. It's just not worth it to sit in line to be treated rudely and get something that just isn't that good.

                                    1. re: roro1831

                                      What's that line about nobody ever going broke underestimating people's taste???

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        or the one about a sucker being born every minute. lol

                                    2. re: buttertart

                                      As someone who was born and raised in Jersey City with strong familial ties to Hoboken (where I now live), I felt for the last year or so I was "owed something" because my family has gone to Carlo's since before the Vilastro family even owned it. But after seeing those yokels in line this past week in this crazy heat, I say "let them have it." At least I have my fond memories of when the bakery was actually amazing and turned out some of the best pastries around. All these people are getting is the image...and that's not saying much at all!

                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                        Still packing them in - a long line at 10:00 am today, probably 80 people...begs the question, how does a bakery that was serving maybe 10% of the customers they are now before all this happened, up production enough to keep their shelves stocked for the hordes? It's not a very big building.

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          There was a crowd at 8am today...amazing. I suspect they are doing some off site baking as well as working around the clock. I'm sure the money rolling in has given them the resources they need to hire on extra help, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if they moved to a bigger space soon.

                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                            Just in time for the show to tank (she says evilly).

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              Oh, it will some day. And his business will dwindle...but by that time he'll have made so much money that he'll be able to retire.

                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                True enough.

                                    3. Have been in Hoboken a couple of times recently and at least the weekday lines seem to be a thing of the past. There were a very few people around and buying. Has this dog had his day?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        I think it's due to the fact school is back in and summer vacations are over. The weekend line is still long.

                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                          Sigh...

                                      2. I had never seen this show until recently when I caught an episode that took place in Italy. I don't know the joint, have never tasted their cakes nor stood on their lines, but I have to say that my son does one awesome imitation of Buddy. Worth watching again just to touch up his impression...