Porto's Bakery & Cafe
- General Info:
- Tracing its origins to the year 1960, when the Porto family made the tough decision to leave their home in Manzanillo, Cuba. After living through the drastic changes that were taking place around them, they requested permission to leave the country. Immediately Raul Sr. was terminated from his job and sent away to manual labor for the duration of the wait period. Wife, Rosa Porto was also let go. Knowing that it may take years to be able to leave the country, Rosa found herself alone and having to find a means to support her three children Betty, Raul Jr., and Margarita. Rosa, always a talented cake maker, with a passion for baking, entrenched herself in perfecting her recipes and began selling her delicious cakes to friends and neighbors not realizing that she was also building herself a loyal customer base. When the family finally emigrated from Cuba to California, they had not much more than the clothes on their backs, Raul Sr.’s strong work ethic, Rosa’s exceptional baking skills, and a dream for a better life. Soon after the plane landed, Rosa realized that her reputation had preceded her, and met her first customer just as she got off the plane. Raul Sr. took a job as a mechanic and after work delivered Rosa’s cakes. These were hard times, but the family was now in a country filled with limitless opportunities and their dream for a better future became more real as the years passed. Rosa continued on with her cake business and when their home could no longer accommodate the increased demand, opened a little 300-square foot bakery on Sunset Blvd, in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. From day one, the place was busy, serving close to 50 customers a day. After tirelessly working two jobs, Raul Sr. left his latter job at Van De Kamp’s and joined Rosa full time. Meanwhile, their children Betty, Raul Jr., and Margarita managed to maintain their studies and learn the different parts of the business; baking, decorating, food preparation, customer service, and finances. In the 1980’s, after graduating college, Betty, Raul Jr. and Margarita stayed on with the business each taking on more specific roles. Raul Jr. took on managing the finances and alongside his long-time co-worker and friend, Tony Salazar, focused on new product development, production improvements, and quality control. Margarita joined her mom in the cake decorating area, and Betty managed alongside her father assisting customers. Rosa’s Cuban cakes were soon joined by French mousses, Italian sweets, and international savories. As customers flocked to the bakery demanding countless quantities of Cheese Rolls™, Refugiados™-guava and cheese strudels, and the infamous Potato Ball™ , space became critical. A move was made to a 2,000-square foot facility in Glendale and six years later to one double in size. The bakery continued to grow and more employees where hired to handle the demand for its increasingly broad line of cakes, desserts, and savories. The years proved Rosa’s formula successful. With the entire family’s effort, expansion to a 20,000-square foot facility took place in the 1990’s. Later further expansion included a Café with a menu showcasing signature Cuban sandwiches and lunch favorites. Rosa used her talents into a means of supporting her family and the business she began has turned into one of the most unique family-owned businesses in Southern California. Rosa Porto is now retired, but her recipes and her high standards remain, including her motto, “quality is the number one ingredient in everything we do”. Porto’s Bakery & Café now serves thousands of customers
- Bakery, Cakes, Cafe, Catering
- Payment method:
- cash, visa
- City Center
- Fancy Platters, Pastries, Savory Platters, Sandwich Platters, Dipped Strawberries
- Cuban Restaurants, Decoration Supply, Family Style Restaurants, Restaurants, Party Favors, Supplies & Services, Dessert Restaurants, Bakeries, Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch Restaurants
- Other Information:
Good For Family: Yes
Good For Groups: Yes
Good for Kids: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Parking: Street, Lot, Self, On Site, Valet
Bike Parking: Yes
Noise Level: Loud
Cuisines: Cuban, Family Style, Sandwiches, Caribbean, Latin American, Dessert, Diner, Cafe, Pastries
Takes Reservations: No
Waiter Service: No
One - do not let the lines daunt you. They move pretty quickly, and what may seem like unorganized chaos is actually pretty well managed. But if you fear the lines, it's best to go around 3-3:30ish in the afternoon.
Two - the pastries. The cafe food is fine, but it's all about the pastries. They're cheap, they're plentiful, they're beautiful and they actually taste as good as they look. My favorites are the almond Florentine cookies, coconut rolls, dulce de leche kisses, and the napoleons. I have a lot of favorites. The potato balls live up to the hype too.
Amazing, addictive pastries and great lunches in a jam-packed, overwhelming atmosphere. The cheese rolls are a must, and kids enjoy soups in bread bowls.
Easily one of the best bakeries in Los Angeles. I did knock off one star for the sandwiches which are good but not spectacular like the sweet and savory pastries.
The wait can be long and the atmosphere can be a little chaotic since they are so busy all the time but the staff is well trained and the restaurant is clean and organized nonetheless.
Recommended: Potato balls, cheese pastries, horchata smoothies