We’ll see you in there.
Connect to customize your food & drink discovery.
Fans of the renowned TV show Cake Boss will need no introduction to Buddy Valastro or, by extension, Carlo's Bake Shop. For the uninitiated dessert lover, there are still plenty of sweet reasons to rejoice as the coveted bakery has found a place to call home in Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood.
A bakery that started in 1910 in Hoboken, New Jersey, Carlo's found its way north of the border and set up its first Canadian outpost in the Port Credit region of Mississauga in January of this year. Since then, it has become a staple amongst the people in the Greater Toronto Area, serving its signature custom cakes, cake slices, lobster tails and cannolis to patrons.
The Yorkville location at 24 Bellair St. opened its doors to downtown Toronto in the form of an express location on Sept. 30, opening up a whole new avenue for potential consumers who don't wish to make the trek all the way west and are just looking for a quick fix for their sweet cravings.
While the store itself might present itself in a scaled-down way, there is absolutely no reason to fret as the 700-square-feet express location will serve all of the sought-after classics like cakes, cake slices, cannolis and lobster tails. It's essentially all the Carlo's favourites but in a more condensed presentation.
Chris Zownir and his partner Gino Tamaro, managing partners of Carlo's Bake Shop Canada and the trailblazers of cake ATMs across Canada, are really proud and excited to be a part of the Valastro family tradition and be the key cogs in bringing that history and environment into Canada, Zownir said.
The initial move of setting up in Mississauga while foraying into Canada was done to retain the familial traditions that Carlo's Bake Shop was built upon, he said.
"My business partner [Tamaro] grew up in the Port Credit area, we wanted to be part of like a family neighbourhood," Zownir said.
The pivot to Yorkville was also based on a similar mindset — instilling this great piece of history into a vibrant setting like the neighbourhood. The dichotomy of having such an old, traditional bake shop in such a new-age environment that also has its fair share of tradition and history has set the express location apart, and its design has been a very deliberate choice as well.
"We've decorated it specifically to be part of the Yorkville community," Zownir said. "But at the same time, we want it to be a very comfortable and approachable experience where people feel that they're heading to their neighbourhood bakery."
It seems like the plan is working well for Carlo's Bake Shop, as Zownir said that the location has been welcomed with open arms by the rest of the Yorkville community, be it residents or other local businesses.
The overall idea for creating the express location is to increase accessibility to the products for people who can't visit the full-fledged bakery, all the while retaining the true essence of a Carlo's Bake Shop experience.
"We want to have a traditional Carlo's Bakery experience, but in a central location that also has approachability and is also fun and playful," Zownir said.
As for the future, Zownir hinted that the express location might (definitely) be getting a few specific-to-Yorkville products that customers might be very interested in.
"I can't actually say what it is, but one particular item we're just kind of putting the finishing touches on," he said. "It'll be a very, very wonderful conversation piece for Yorkville."
At the end of the day, words can only express so much regarding the place. To understand its true essence Zownir urged everyone to see it in person.
"You'll see, 'Wow, this has a tremendous history,' and you take a bite into a cannoli or a lobster tail and go, 'Wow, there's so much tradition here in this recipe,' and you're looking around going, 'Wow, this is like, I'm here in modern times in this environment,' and it kind of captures both," Zownir said.
If you're residing anywhere in the downtown Toronto area, we highly recommend dropping into the bakery to check out the place for yourself — and don't forget to grab yourself a sweet treat for all your efforts!
Carlo's Bake Shop's express location in Yorkville is now open at 24 Bellair St from 9 a.m. Monday through Sunday.