So finally in 1971, we were able to come to Los Angeles and again, I found out that friends and family were here! There was a large Cuban community from our town so when they found out she was in Los Angeles the orders started. She was here only a month when she made her first wedding cake. The location clocks in at 2,700 square feet where all the favorites are available, including those crowd pleasing cheese rolls. Porto’s house brew of single-origin, organic Guatemalan coffee made from Arabica beans cold-brewed for 24 hours sweetened with Porto’s sweet cream blend . A buttery tart with vanilla custard and an assortment of fresh fruit.
They knew they’d have to sell more than the cakes Porto had been baking in Cuba. To build up day-to-day business and foot traffic, they started selling Mexican conchas, doughnuts — whatever people wanted. When I was in Burbank, I was looking for a spot to eat at and jumped on Yelp. Immediately this Cuban bakery came up, and it had over 4,000 reviews with four stars. I didn’t even have to research it anymore; I set my GPS to check it out. As you know, that many people agreeing on a food spot has a slim chance of being bad, and I can report after eating there that it was terrific.
We understood that there was a community we were at. Whatever was needed was what we were making. Traditional puff pastry made with European style butter filled with apple, raisin, pecan, and bits of Rosa’s original Cuban cake, topped with powdered sugar.
We would appreciate an opportunity to… Moist pound cake filled and topped with a cinnamon pecan streusel, drizzled with icing. A Cuban-style soft corn tamale with Porto’s signature slow-roasted pork wrapped in a corn husk. Grilled, marinated, free-range Jidori® chicken breast, black bean spread, guacamole, cotija cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Classic cheesecake with a graham cracker crust finished with whole strawberries and a strawberry glaze. Moist chocolate cake layered with Porto’s signature whipped chocolate ganache and raspberry jam.
The commissary helps prevent gridlock at the three stores. Though fans say Porto’s is worth the wait, the family-run operation is constantly evolving to maximize efficiency. Betty Porto, whose mom baked cakes while living in communist Cuba in the 1960s, said front-door greeters help guests figure out where to queue.
If ChowNow states that your selected location is closed, online orders for that location have reached capacity for the day. In 1976, Rosa secured a $5,000 loan to open a 300-square-foot shop in Los Angeles at Silver Lake and Sunset Boulevard. In 1982, she relocated to Glendale. At that time, Betty had graduated from college. She and her brother, an economics major, immersed themselves in the business. “She put sheets on the bed and kept flipping cakes,” Porto said.
For five years, she ran the business out of the family’s small apartment near Echo Park. Betty said she and her siblings would go to bed late because their beds doubled as makeshift cooling racks. Using her mom’s tried-and-true recipes and a Sunbeam mixer, she made yellow sponge cakes, soaked c2c rectangle pattern in simple syrup and rum and filled with custard. Last year, Yelp named Porto’s bakery the best restaurant in the country based on positive reviews. Consumer demand is why they are expanding to Buena Park and West Covina – to accommodate the masses traveling to their packed Los Angeles cafes.
They relocated to California, where her husband, Raúl, had family. It didn’t take long for Cuban immigrants in the States to start asking Porto for her cakes. “In the airport when we arrived,” she said, she was approached by someone from home. Porto’s Bakery has an overall rating of 3.6 out of 5, based on over 88 reviews left anonymously by employees. 58% of employees would recommend working at Porto’s Bakery to a friend and 60% have a positive outlook for the business. This rating has been stable over the past 12 months.
But then in the 1980s something came up. There was a baker who went out of business and was selling his 3,000 sq foot bakery. At the time there were like 100,000 Cubans living in Glendale and we went after our community. We didn’t have an issue because our customers showed up. We started making donuts too because that’s what the people in the area wanted to eat, donuts, bear claws, and stuff like that. So again, we had to reinvent ourselves but we always stuck to our core products, like croquettes, potato balls, and the guava and the guava cheese pastries.
The Saturday-at-Disneyland-like crowds and long queues of people waiting to get pastries, sandwiches and snacks can be off-putting to the uninitiated, certainly. Because the second thing you notice at any Porto’s is how quickly the line moves. Porto’s is a bakery, a cafe, and a local institution. Rosa Porto began it in Glendale, California, in 1960 because her friends and neighbors were always asking for her to make them her wonderful pastries. So she started a small bakery business at home using recipes she brought with her from her native Cuba.