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Once-beloved Carlo’s Bakery — from TV show ‘Cake Boss’ — has closed in Dallas

The company is considering installing 100 cake vending machines across the country in the next 18 months.

Carlo’s Bakery in Dallas has closed.

The bakery was made famous by chef Buddy Valastro, who stars in the TV show Cake Boss. The show started on TLC in 2009 and follows a lovable family of New Jersey chefs making over-the-top cakes.

When the bakery opened in Dallas in 2016, it was the first Carlo’s bakery in Texas. It was the company’s biggest shop opening in its history, and a shocking 7,000 people came to meet Valastro on Day One.

'Cake Boss' star Buddy Valastro, left, met Harrison Gullatt, age 10, at Carlo's Bakery on Friday, March 18, 2016.
'Cake Boss' star Buddy Valastro, left, met Harrison Gullatt, age 10, at Carlo's Bakery on Friday, March 18, 2016.(David Woo / Staff Photographer)

The shop closed Dec. 7, according to Michael Ciullo, chief marketing officer for the company. Today, the shop was locked up and vacant, its dessert cases removed. It’s a stark contrast from that first day, when Cake Boss fans stood in the Preston Center parking lot, waiting for hours to buy Valastro’s famous desserts.

Valastro stayed up until 3 a.m. signing autographs with fans.

All that fervor in 2016 led the family to open a Carlo’s at Stonebriar Center in Frisco in 2017. Its first customer showed up 18 hours before it opened.

But after a few years of selling strawberry cheesecakes and lobster tails, the Frisco shop closed in February 2020.

With both Dallas and Frisco closed, the Cake Boss crew does not have any more bakeries in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The most famous items at Carlo's Bakery are the cannoli.
The most famous items at Carlo's Bakery are the cannoli.(Jae S. Lee / Staff Photographer)

The company is shipping its rainbow cakes, lobster tails, cookies and cupcakes across the country via Goldbelly. Shipping is available in the Dallas area.

Ciullo says the company is also looking at installing up to 100 “cake ATMs” across the United States in the next 12 to 18 months, including in Texas. The company installed the first machines in Canada in 2019 and say the model continues to work, mid-pandemic: It allows Carlo’s to expand its brand, with a tiny footprint instead of a restaurant. And customers can get slices of cake or 6-inch whole cakes at any time.

The entire expansion model for Carlo’s Bakery seems to have shifted in the past year or two. Ciullo says their focus is on e-commerce.

“We found we could reach a broader audience in Texas, without opening 50 stores,” he says.

In fact, he says that Dallas customers would place orders online in the past year “when they could simply just drive to the bakery.” So the company has closed its Dallas shop and is focusing more strongly on shipping cakes across the country and opening small cake vending machines.

Carlo’s shuttering in Preston Center joins a swath of restaurant closures at the posh shopping center. Roti Grill closed in August. California Pizza Kitchen closed mid-summer. Pei Wei closed in May, after 17 years. Bartaco closed in March. And the former Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar remains vacant after closing in 2018.

Local restaurants Taco Joint, Flying Fish and Jia Modern Chinese Asian Lounge are still open in Preston Center, as are Hopdoddy Burger Bar, dessert shop SusieCakes and a few other restaurants.

Correction at 1:55 p.m. Jan. 13, 2021: This story incorrectly stated that the team at Carlo’s Bakery plans to open 100 cake vending machines across Texas. Those machines will be installed across the United States.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

Sarah Blaskovich, food writer. Sarah writes about restaurants, bars and culture in Dallas. Follow @sblaskovich and ask her what to do, where to eat or where to drink in your area.

sblaskovich@dallasnews.com /sarah.blaskovich @sblaskovich Instagram Icon@sarahblaskovich
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