King Cake Hub, the brainchild of restaurateur Will Samuels, is offering an innovative online solution for consumers seeking to buy iconic king cakes from the New Orleans area. Customers can order king cakes from a variety of bakeries through the new website, in addition to picking up their orders at a single location. The site is powered by ecommerce platform Shopify.
Six New Orleans bakeries are involved: Bywater Bakery, Caluda's King Cake, Cannata’s Market, Joe Gambino’s Bakery, Girls Gone Vegan, and Hi Do Bakery. King cake season runs from January 6 through Mardi Gras on March 5.
Samuels says his former Pizza Nola retail store started carrying Dong Phuong king cakes several years back and, thanks largely to marketing efforts, word began to spread. Dong Phuong king cakes became one of the hottest-selling king cakes in town. Then, in 2018, the James Beard Foundation announced that Dong PhuongVietnamese bakery had won a coveted America’s Classics award, recognizing local small businesses. Dong Phuong, which opened in 1982, began by catering to the hunger of the Vietnamese community that settled in New Orleans after the Vietnam War. Today, the bakery is part of the city’s culinary fabric.
“Dong Phuong couldn’t keep up with the demand and had to cut our supply and decided to only sell from their bakery,” Samuels says. “There was just no way for them to increase production to keep up with the demand. Shortly after Mardi Gras, we made the decision to close Pizza Nola and announced that even though we were closing we still would have a substantial presence for Carnival 2019.”
Within hours after sending out this notice, Samuels said he received an email from Joe Gambino’s Bakery wanting to supply them with king cakes. “Boom. We knew what the plan would be,” he says. “Gambino’s has been the king of king cakes for 70 years and the opportunity to partner with them would be amazing. We realized that it was a good opportunity to reach out to other of our favorite bakeries and over the last several years we’ve done some extensive research into New Orleans area king cakes.”
At King Cake Hub, the new online service has gathered an aggregation of the best king cakes in the region, offering years of Carnival tradition, as well as new developments and a host of creative flavors.