By JOHN T. WARD
Standing four deep along a Broad Street sidewalk, they greeted the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro, with girlish shrieks when he emerged to open the shop.
And how did he get the place open so fast?
Second one first: Valastro said he decreed to his team that the shop should open before Thanksgiving, though the lease deal wasn’t finalized until mid-September. In pulling off that feat, he managed one of the fastest build-outs and openings in memory in a town better known for a go-slow approach to development, to put it diplomatically.
“Here we are, before Thanksgiving,” he told redbankgreen. “This is how we do it on ‘Cake Boss.'”
Municipal court Judge William Himelman was at the opening in his capacity as Valastro’s new landlord. But as he stood amid the gleaming display cases stocked with cannoli shells and brightly colored cakes, he couldn’t help but gush a bit over the efficiency of the Carlo’s team and the contractors who converted the space, last tenanted by Ricky’s Candy, into a gleaming, mid-century-style bake shop.
“They had 25 guys working here day and night,” Himelman said, wide-eyed. When construction was delayed on another new Carlo’s in Greenwich, Connecticut, the crew members swept into Red Bank to lend a hand, he said.
And every detail of the place is perfect, he said.
So, Himleman’s a fan. But why would a grown man who was not Valastro’s landlord stand in line on a cold, gray afternoon for a store opening?
We put that one to Chris Renda, a man of a certain age from Toms River.
“Because he’s famous,” Renda said.
Really? That’s all it takes?
“No. He’s a goombah, too,” said Renda, allowing he was also a goombah.
Thirteen year-old Brielle Bezick of Middletown was there, too. Why?
“Because I love Buddy,” she said, with an excitement reminiscent of Beatlemania, half a century ago.
And why do you love Buddy, redbankgreen asked?
“Because he’s Buddy,” she said. “He’s my home skillet. He’s my minty fresh.”
Another mystery solved.