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Sep 3, 2013 03:16 PM

City Hall Bakery aka Carlo's Bakery aka Cake Boss

Don't be too quick on the trigger finger mods as the baker of "Cake Boss" fame is becoming a chain and the latest one just opened in our town.
I lived in Jersey City just 5 minutes away from "City Hall Bakery" for 10 years and got to know their wares only too well and it was a good bakery, not a great one but good and all was well. I used to go in there for a sheet of one of the best crumb cakes I've ever eaten. It was a 1/4 sheet or 1/2 of a 1/2 sheet pan in size and was $4.00. I know this goes back a long way but I just bought one yesterday to bring to some friends and a sheet slightly smaller than the one I used to buy is now $11.00. Again, this is GREAT crumb cake, but it is crumb cake and $11.00 seems unreasonable.

On another note, we have 2 other bakers in our small town, one a local
Italian establishment which will probably suffer for a while but when push comes to shove and people figure out the difference in quality and price will do fine, the other on outpost of "Crumbs" which after tasting I've never understood their appeal. I can't believe there's enough business in a small town for all three of them so hopefully the "mom and pop" baker makes it.

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      1. re: jbsiegel

        Wow--they opened in Ridgewood and in Westfield? Hadn't heard that.

        ETA: Curiosity got the best of me, and although it took more than a few clicks to find the full list of locations on their site, they have in fact opened in both Ridgewood and Westfield (in addition to the original Hoboken location).

        1. re: Curlz

          And, not yet up on their website, here's the early news ...

          They are coming to Red Bank and going into the space recently vacated by Ricky's.

          1. re: seal

            Funny how they're building only in the fancy towns. His beloved Little Ferry isn't worthy of one of these shops? Or, is it that people in Little Ferry would never spend $20+ per pound for ruggelach?

            I've been in the Ridgewood shop a few times. The first time I went, Buddy was actually there, about to leave. I asked him nicely if I could take a picture, and he said sure, and actually posed for me. Seemed like a nice guy. But...

            the prices on most items are crazy. Their stuff is good, but portions are small and prices are very high. I understand this is a celebrity bakery and all, but I think they're being a bit greedy. There's a reason they're building in towns like Ridgewood and Westfield and not towns like Little Ferry or Linden: gobs of $$$ and lots of spoiled kids begging their parents to blow those $$$ on overpriced cakes and cookies.

            I'd rather go to a place like Palazzone 1960 and get pastries that are triple the size for half the price.

            1. re: zhelder

              Funny that you mention kids begging their parents to go/shop 15 yr-old niece convinced her 17 yr-old brother and his girlfriend to drive up to Hoboken FROM MARYLAND just so she could go to Carlo's. Up at 3am, first in line, and back home on the same day. She was ecstatic--this is a kid who's obsessed with pastry chefs and has already declared she wants to go to culinary school for pastry. She got a t-shirt, took pics out in front w/the sign, and oh, btw, ate some good stuff too (she says). It's the new generation, alright.

    1. Don't worry, Bovellas will do juuuuuuust fine

      1. I got to try his stuff on a recent cruise, since he also has a bakery located on the ship. I was totally unimpressed; the rainbow cookies had no discernible almond flavor, and the cannoli shell was so hard you could hardly bite into it. Didn't bother buying anything else the rest of the week.

        1 Reply
        1. re: coll

          I don't find his stuff good at all. When we got married my wife wanted to order a grooms cake for me. Turns out he was the baker of choice for our venue but for some reason the place recommended someone else. He asked my wife where the reception was and threw a fit when he found out.
          He them quoted a price of over 600 bucks for the grooms cake which my wife got someplace else for 200 bucks

        2. We've tried a couple things from the Westfield shop.

          Bought a cupcake that was ever so slightly cheaper than Crumbs, but not NEARLY as big and pretty dry. No filling. Not worth it.

          We bought a big M&M/chocolate chunk cookie (for $3!). This was better than the cupcake. Soft, big chocolate chunks, obviously homemade. Pretty good.

          Also bought a mini chocolate mousse cake which I was assured wasn't all mousse covered in some kind of chocolate stuff - that there was chocolate cake involved too. Well, the chocolate cake was this miniscule little layer at the bottom and it was basically all mousse covered by this not-so-good runny kind of icing. All this joy for $6. Not worth it.

          So...verdict...not that impressive. I was impressed by the size of the kitchen there. Guess they have to charge those prices to afford the rent and the "name"...