TORONTO, Oct. 24, 2022 – “Fun and playful” are two words used to describe the new Carlo’s Bakery Express in Yorkville, as described by Chris Zownir, Canadian Managing Partner and co-owner of Carlo’s Bakery in Port Credit and Carlo’s Bakery Express in Yorkville. These two words can also be used to describe celebrity cake designer Buddy Valastro who owns the original Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey where the popular TV show Cake Boss was filmed. Buddy is also known as the co-star of the TV series Buddy Versus Duff.
“People are wowed by the décor which is fun and playful,” states Chris about the new location at 24 Bellair Street in Yorkville. The original Carlo’s Bakery was opened in 1910 and Buddy’s father Bartolo Valastro Sr. bought the bakery in 1964. After the untimely passing of Bartolo Sr. in 1994, family matriarch Mary Valastro and her children (including master baker Bartolo Jr., a.k.a. Buddy Valastro) have expanded the business into a baking empire.
“We are excited to be part of the incredible tradition of Carlo’s Bakery, and we honour that long-standing tradition of excellence, and we are doing it in fun and playful ways at the new location,” says Chris. “Pink floral wallpaper is a key signature element used on a feature wall. People are fascinated by the custom cakes on display in the front window, all created by our head decorator. We wanted the express location to feel comfortable and welcoming, with a touch of playfulness that’s very appealing.”
Buddy may not be at the bakery in person (although he is expected to make a guest appearance sometime soon), but he is certainly there in spirit.
“There’s a life-size cutout of Buddy in the front window,” explains Chris. “There are also black and white photos of Buddy creating cakes on the interior walls while episodes of The Cake Boss play on the TV screen. Outside we have the traditional Carlo’s Bakery sign, a replica of the sign at his family bakery in Hoboken and there is also a playful red and white ‘awning’ component like that at the original bakery.”
The goal was for the new bakery to have a friendly neighbourhood feel where people stop in for a daily coffee and treat or take home a cake for a special birthday or occasion.
“The express concept is unique to Yorkville, and it is really creating excitement in the neighbourhood,” adds Chris. “We are so appreciative of the warm response so far from the local residents and businesses, welcoming us to the neighbourhood. My business partner Gino Tomaro has owned Quattro Men’s Wear in Yorkville for 27 years.”
When Gino got married last April, Buddy personally made the wedding cake and had it driven up from Hoboken to Toronto!
“We have whole cakes and cake slices on hand, and you can order custom cakes instore or online and our head decorator will work with clients to create the cake of their dreams,” says Chris.
Buddy is renowned for his over the top, larger-than-life cakes. Asked if someone wanted to order an enormous dinosaur cake or something equally fantastic, Chris answers: “If someone wants a huge one-of-a-kind cake, Buddy has told us that they can make it in New Jersey and they will drive it to Toronto.”
Located at 24 Bellair Street in Yorkville, the express bakery café has Buddy’s traditional items including classic cannoli, multi-layered cake slices and sfogliatella lobster tail pastries.
What is a lobster tail pastry?
“It’s a traditional Italian pastry that’s stretched and rolled into thin layers and when baked, it takes the shape of a lobster tail and then it is filled with the most delicious cream,” explains Chris. “Our three most popular items are lobster tails, cannoli, and our strawberry shortcake slice. These are the perfect choice to pair with coffee to go.”
The opening of the express bakery follows the success of Carlo’s Bakery in Port Credit as well as the popularity of the Carlo’s Bake Shop Express Cake ATM cake slice vending machines. There are 30 automated machines in Canada including five at Toronto’s Pearson Airport, as well as at area shopping centres like Toronto Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale and more.
“My partner Gino and I presented the idea of the cake vending machines to Buddy who loved the idea,” says Chris. “The reaction to the Cake ATM’s has been extremely positive. It is a combination of the tradition of the popular brand presented in a fun and playful way using modern technology. When you press the button to order a slice of Buddy’s famous cake, a jingle plays and a recording of Buddy’s voice comes on and says, ‘Who wants to eat some cake?’ The background jingle sounds like you are buying chestnuts in the street in Italy. We love to stand about 30 feet back and watch people’s reaction. It’s all part of the excitement of the experience. We plan to have Carlo’s Bakery pizza vending machines in locations in the U.S. and Canada soon.
Carlo’s Bakery Express will soon introduce some unique-to-Yorkville items. “I can’t say what they are yet, but they will definitely be a tribute to Yorkville.”
For more information visit carlosbakery.ca
by Laurie Wallace-Lynch
photos by Carlo’s Bakery