Carlo’s Bakery of Westfield does not live up to high expectations

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Sophia Iacona

Carlo’s Bakery of Westfield, located at 21 E. Broad Street, is one of the many newly opened locations of the notorious Hoboken-based bakery of the same name. The original location draws in lines sprawling around the block, but Carlo’s Bakery of Westfield definitely does not withstand the hype.
The bakery chain gained popularity from the TLC produced show, “Cake Boss”, which showcases the daily operations of the bakery and how Buddy Valastro,  the owner of the bakery, and his extensive family and employees expand their business. The various Italian pastries are shown to be made fresh daily, but that does not seem to be the same case for the Westfield location.
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The pastries sold are dry, bland and extremely overpriced. The lobster tails are $5.50 each, even with them being relatively smaller than the usual size. A lobster tail is a traditional Italian dessert made up of a crescent shaped pastry dough shell, filled with a mixture of custard and whipped cream. The outside of the pastry should be crispy, but Carlo’s was like stale bread. It was impossible to bite into and even harder to split in half. The cream filled center had little to no flavor and tasted similar to watered down whipped cream.
Although the staleness and weird consistency of the lobster tail was a dead giveaway that it was not made fresh, it’s a fact that most of the baking for the bakery is done in an off site location in Jersey City. The pastries are then shipped to the various locations. This brings up another issue we have with the establishment; good bakeries are built off their environment. Carlo’s Bakery of Westfield isn’t warm or welcoming because it’s evident that the pastries were not made there. The delightful smell of desserts in the oven is replaced by a sterile and relatively vacant environment.
In fact, the store rarely draws any attention, even in the hustling and bustling downtown Westfield district. When we visited, only one employee along with us occupied  the store, for a grand total of three people. The low interest could also be because of the horrible Yelp reviews that the bakery has received.
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We also tasted one of their vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. This was also a disappointment. The cake was dense and dry, while the icing was sufficient in quantity, but tasted like air. The icing had good potential due to it’s creaminess but had no flavor what so ever. Quite frankly I could have bought this cupcake at Shoprite, and for much cheaper than $3.
Overall, Carlo’s Bakery of Westfield definitely has its work cut out for it. The shop has plenty of potential to sell delicious Italian pastries, but they need to go back to their roots. Making everything in store is the first step to making good product and keeping customers happy. Until that happens, the desserts are likely to  remain dry and flavorless. Until then, we will not be returning.