Cake Boss Buddy Valastro launches Boss Cafe in Las Vegas

TLC's Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, poses for a photo at his Boss Cafe at the LINQ hotel-casino on ...

Buddy Valastro first came to widespread fame on TLC’s “Cake Boss” back in 2009, and for 10 seasons, the show gave viewers a glimpse into the frosted, multilayered workings of his Hoboken, New Jersey, family business — Carlo’s Bakery. His celebrity chef profile eventually led to the opening of notable Las Vegas eateries — Buddy V’s Ristorante, Carlo’s Bakery and PizzaCake on the Strip — and the installation of a few dessert-dispensing Cake ATMs about the valley.

Now, Valastro has brought even more of his Garden State food traditions to town with the recent opening of Boss Café by Buddy Valastro at The Linq Hotel. The new eatery is based on the traditional Italian American markets and delicatessens that dot townships, villages, boroughs and cities across the Tri-State area.

“This is something I’ve been dreaming about for a while, because as much as I love Carlo’s Bakery, I’ve felt I wanted to add a savory component,” Valastro said at a preview opening of Boss Café.

“The Boss Café, for me, is the best of what Carlo’s has to offer with a smaller menu on the sweet side,” he said. He added that Boss Café retains some sugared fan favorites like pastries and cheesecakes while increasing the number of zesty selections, including nonna-style pizza squares baked with pomodoro sauce, provolone, pecorino and whole-milk mozzarella with toppings like basil pesto, pepperoni, salami and olives.

Valastro is especially looking forward to baking the custom pizza dough he’s created for the café.

“It’s like a cross between a focaccia and a Sicilian,” he said, “It’s light; it’s delicious.”

Additional savory selections include panini like the Hoboken Havana (rosemary ham, smoked salumi-style pancetta, provolone, grain mustard and herb mayo); the Grove St (prosciutto, peppered salami, smoked pecorino and pesto); Ma’s Chicken Milanese (roasted chicken cutlet, lemon-tomato aioli and arugula) and the Jersey Pot Roast (herb-crusted roast beef and garlic with jus on side).

For the salad set, Pop’s Panzanella brings together focaccia croutons, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled red onions, parmesan and mozzarella. The Hoboken Chop drops the bready carbs for a keto-friendly mix of diced salami, turkey, tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella, roasted peppers and olives with vinaigrette dressing.

The inclusions of mozzarella cheese above lead to the centerpiece of Valastro’s newest establishment: the Mozz Bar.

“Every Italian deli in New York and New Jersey makes fresh mozz,” he said. “It’s mouthwatering and delicious.”

Pronounced emphatically in the New Jersey regional vernacular — mutz — the ivory-white cheese is made in-house every day by bathing casein-rich curds in hot water while paddling, stirring, kneading, braiding and twisting them into a smooth consistency. The bar was built demonstration-style, and it’s fascinating to watch the soft white cheese develop through a combination of steady heat and constant movement.

“Every Italian deli in New York and New Jersey makes fresh mozz,” he said. “It’s mouthwatering and delicious.”

And since Valastro is known for working with family, it’s a bonus that his father-in-law, Mauro Belgiovine, often helms the station, wooden paddle deftly in hand. He has been stretching the mozz for more than 40 years, including the past two here in Southern Nevada.

“It’s an experience for them to see,” Belgiovine said, speaking of the many people who watch him churn the steaming cauldron of melting curds. “It’s something new.”

For locals looking for a quick Italian American bite, Boss Café is located handily not far from the Linq parking garage.

And oh, yes, those crowd-pleasing sweet creations known as lobster tails — puff pastry shells filled with cream filling and topped with fresh berries — are on the menu, too.

Contact Greg Thilmont at gthilmont@reviewjournal.com. Follow @gregthilmont on Instagram.