King Cake and Baby Jesus

How King Cake Hub became the one-stop-shop for king cakes

Despite moving around the city and the death of one of its founders, the Hub continues being the only place you can get king cake from different bakeries under one roof.

by Marielle Songy | December 8, 2021

Different king cake varieties seem to be added every year, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all of the king cake choices. These are important decisions!

Hub-le beginnings

King Cake Hub has been making finding that perfect king cake a little easier since 2019. The Hub features king cakes from over 60 bakeries, delivered fresh daily, all in one place! Not only will you end up with a delicious dessert, but you can support local bakeries in an easy and fun way (and without running all over town).

King Cake Hub was created by Will Samuels and his wife, Jennifer Samuels. They first started making their own king cake at their gelato shop La Dolce NOLA on Metairie Road in 2011. While the king cakes were a hit, the shop itself struggled. 

After closing La Dolce NOLA, the Samuels sold their cakes at their restaurant, Pizza NOLA, and went on to share space with Artz Bagels on Magazine Street They spent money on a buildout and sold cakes from the store, but they lost the space when the company filed for bankruptcy. 

Finding a home

After finding success selling Dong Phuong king cakes at Pizza NOLA, Will Samuels then had the idea to offer a myriad of king cakes all in one place.

“Will had this idea of having a place where people could come and buy whatever king cakes they wanted,” Jennifer Samuels said. “My daughter and I used to make a big list of all of the king cakes that we wanted to try and we would run all over gathering these cakes. It was time-consuming!”

The first two years, King Cake Hub was located at The Mortuary on Canal Street, typically home to a seasonal haunted house. 

Photo courtesy Jennifer Samuels

Samuels said, “It was the right space at the time, but The Mortuary wanted to try to have a Christmas-themed haunted house and maybe other seasonal haunted houses. They weren’t really able to commit the space to us again in 2021, so we had to find somewhere else to go.”

Will and Jennifer thought that The Broad Theater on North Broad would be a perfect fit, mainly because the movie theater closed indoor operations due to COVID-19.

“The Broad Theater was a really great fit for us, but fortunately, for the theater, it’s all back up and running,” Samuels said. “Last year was great for us because king cakes and decorating your house was all you could do. You couldn’t go to a parade, but you could come and get overwhelmed by the number of king cakes we have. People really came out, but we knew we had to find another space.”

In September, Will died of esophageal cancer, but Jennifer knew that King Cake Hub would continue. 

Photo courtesy Jennifer Samuels

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“We thought he would be with us longer, but we always knew that we would keep doing it,” Samuels said. “We’ve had so much fun with it that I would never consider not doing it.”

Knowing that 2022 will probably be King Cake Hub’s biggest year yet, Jennifer had to find a place big enough for the king cakes, the crowd and parking. She found the perfect spot at Zony Mash Beer Project at 3940 Thalia St.

Samuels said, “I reached out with the idea of using the taproom, but they suggested a space that’s even better. There’s a room that faces Broad Street that is perfect with good light, plenty of space and parking.”

Zony Mash is so happy to be collaborating with King Cake Hub that the brewery has plans for a King Cake stout that should be available by twelfth night.

King Cake Hub will also have a pop-up at The Gift Shop at the Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal Street in the French Quarter. This will coincide with the Masking Mardi Gras exhibition that will open on Jan. 6.

Jennifer knows how important King Cake Hub has been to the community and the bakers who sell king cakes at the hub.

She said, “Some of the bakeries struggled quite a bit last year, so we knew how important it was to bring those extra sales and publicity to these brands. We got a lot of really positive feedback from the bakers.”

With excitement building for Carnival 2022, there’s no doubt that King Cake Hub will be bigger than ever. Finally, after almost two years of restrictions, I think we are all ready to dig into a slice of normality.

King Cake Hub will be open daily from Jan. 6 to Feb. 28. To learn more about King Cake Hub, check out their website.

Cover photo via Getty Images

Marielle Songy

Marielle Songy

Marielle was born and raised in New Orleans. She thinks it's hard to grow up there and not let the culture and history of the city become part of you.

Whether it be the jazz, food, of fabulous architecture, she thinks most would agree that things are a little spicer down here. You can reach her via email at [email protected]

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