By Jenise Jackson
Spending hours in a two mile long line, filled with impatient adults and cranky kids, all while the San Antonio humidity beats down on your body might not sound like your ideal way to spend a Saturday. The over 2,300 individuals who showed up for the grand opening of Carlo’s Bakery at the Shops of La Cantera would probably disagree with you.
On March 24 at 7 a.m., TLC’s Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro hosted an official ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the latest Texas edition of Carlo’s Bakery. Following the ceremony, patrons were allowed to wait for entrance into the bakery, as well as a meet-and-greet with Valastro and his family that included autograph signings and photo opportunities. Other perks were awarded for those eager enough to wait in line. The very first person in line at the time of the official opening won one free cannoli a day for 365, while the following 500 people received key chains.
As the daylight shined through the San Antonio skies, the line outside of the bakery continued to grow with a diverse crowd. The grand opening brought together rowdy people of all different backgrounds who craved the bakery’s savory sweets. El Paso native and Cake Boss fan Maria Hernandez made the near eight hour drive just to get her very first taste of the desserts she had previously desired through her television screen.
“I don’t get to do a lot of traveling, so I never thought I would ever get to step foot in a Carlo’s Bakery,” said Hernandez. “But when I heard that Buddy was opening a location in San Antonio, I was ready to hop in my car and make the drive. It feels like I have been in this line forever, but I know it is totally going to be worth it.”
The inside of Carlo’s Bakery was filled with the aroma of freshly made pastries, cakes, cookies and more as hard-working employees hustled to serve frantic customers. A wave of calmness came over certain individuals as they took their time to enjoy the desserts they ordered. University of Texas at San Antonio student Alex Wright found himself surprised by the taste of one of Carlo’s Bakery’s top selling menu items.
“While I was waiting in line this morning, my friend went over the online menu with me and I was completely thrown off by the lobster tail title,” said Wright. “I’m glad I decided to go ahead and try it though because I’m blown away by the taste. Delicious would be an understatement.”
The first Carlo’s Bakery was established in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1910. With the success of Cake Boss and garnered attention upon Valastro’s creative style of baking, 23 locations are now open across the US with one location being international. All locations are known for their family-oriented environment. When the San Antonio location was scouting employees they were looking for individuals who not only had an undying love for their city, but could also show that love through their customer service. As San Antonio native and Carlo’s Bakery chef Ray Gutierrez Jr. swiftly worked in the kitchen during the grand opening, a sense of pride beamed on his concentrated face.
“It is simply a blessing to be working in Carlo’s Bakery,” said Gutierrez. “Mr. Valastro could not have picked a better city than my hometown of San Antonio to extend the bakery’s legacy. Mr. Valastro is one of the main reason I even started baking and now I have the pleasure of working for him. I’m filled with so much gratitude and I can’t wait to share that with our customers.”
For those who missed the grand opening event but still wants to enjoy all that Carlo’s Bakery has to offer, the bakery is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Photos by AnnaMaria Mingalone