The Dallas debut of Carlo's Bakery, the made-for-TV bakery famous from the TLC show Cake Boss, was simply huge. Some fans of the show camped out overnight so they could be first in line when Carlo's Bakery opened in Dallas in mid March. People waited for hours, in lines that looked more like the queue for a roller coaster than a wait for puff pastries.
On that opening day, TV star Buddy Valastro stayed up until 3 a.m. with his fans, signing autographs. But that was 10 days ago. Surely lines have died down, right? Not quite.
The day before Easter, hundreds of people snaked through the parking lot near Preston Road and Northwest Highway, standing among crowd-control metal gates.
Joe Faugno, COO for Carlo's Bakery, estimates the average wait time is about three hours to get into the Dallas shop.
One of the reasons for the wait is employees are placing more emphasis on explaining bakery items to customers when they arrive. "We're trying to work on a new system and explain the product," Faugno says. Sweets like cannolis and lobster tails don't tend to be well known, especially in the South, he says. The other reason for the lines: People like Cake Boss, to put it simply, and they want a taste from the only Carlo's Bakery in Texas.
Plano resident Courtney Frazier slept at Carlo's Bakery overnight on March 18, waiting a total of 15 hours for the doors to open. She called it "beyond worth it" and says she's already gone back recently to sample more sweets.
For Eric Saenz, who is from the Bryan-College Station area and was visiting Dallas, the long lines were a little too long. "We talked to some people and they had been in line for eight hours," he says. "They weren't even close to the front." Saenz chose not to wait.
The new Dallas shop makes 13 Carlo's Bakeries across the country -- a baker's dozen, you might say.
As each bakery opened, "they were all big," says the COO. "But not as big as Dallas."
"Dallas was off the charts. Dallas was something like we've never seen," says Faugno.
Some bakeries continue to be busy, he notes. The shop in Times Square in New York City, for instance, tends to have regular lines. So, too, does the shop in Hoboken, New Jersey; it's the original Carlo's Bakery and the site of most of the filming of Cake Boss.
A spokeswoman for Carlo's Bakery offers this tip: Weekday mornings tend to be less crazy at Carlo's Bakery. Once kids are out of school for the day, it seems to get packed, Faugno adds.