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Meet Beatriz Porto of Porto’s Bakery & Cafe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Beatriz Porto.

Hi Beatriz, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
The business was born in Cuba during the 1960’s when my mother, Rosa Porto, started sharing her wonderful cakes and pastries with friends, neighbors and family. When she and my dad, Raul Sr., petitioned to leave Cuba, she found herself out of a job and began selling cakes out of our home to support the family. At the time, she did not realize that the reputation she was building in Cuba would be the foundation for her career in the United States. Eventually, my family was granted permission to emigrate to the United States where the next chapter of our family story began. My mom started right where she left off, baking out of our home for friends that had also emigrated to the US and our new neighbors. After a few years, her popularity had outgrown our home kitchen, and she was able to open the very first Porto’s Bakery in Silver Lake, California. The business continued to get busier and my father, my siblings, Raul Jr. and Margarita, and I all joined her and eventually, the bakery was able to grow and expand into five locations throughout Southern California with a sixth in Northridge on the way soon. In 2016 Porto’s took the number one spot on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the US. In 2018, we were named one of the Top Ten Most Photographed Businesses in the US as well as one of the Top Ten Most Reviewed Businesses in the US. Rosa’s recipes and high standards continue to be carried on by our family, reflected in her motto “quality is the number one ingredient in everything we do”. We recently launched Porto’s Bake at Home, and now our most popular pastries and cakes can be shipped nationwide so they can be baked and enjoyed from the comfort of home. Our beloved mother and founder, Rosa, passed away in December of 2019, but my brother, my sister, and myself with the support of an incredible team and our children are dedicated to continue honoring her legacy.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We have been very fortunate throughout the years with how well received we were by our new communities and how many people keep coming back for my mother’s food. Of course, every business faces challenges, and for us space has, time and time again, been a hurdle. Before opening the first shop in Silver Lake, my mother used all the counters, tables, and every flat surface you can think of (even our beds!) to cool cakes and pastries coming out of the oven. We ended up outgrowing four more bakery spaces until we found our flagship bakery in Glendale in the mid 90’s. In the early 2000’s, we needed more space again, so we bought the restaurant next door and expanded to include our café. Since then, we have opened an additional four bakeries, and we feel so lucky to have our guests supporting us. We still sometimes have more guests than our bakeries can accommodate, but our teams work hard to make sure our lines keep moving, and all our guests get to go home with their favorites.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Porto’s Bakery & Cafe?
Family is really our core at Porto’s Bakery. We are a family run business, we feel our team and our guests are an extension of that family. We have many members of our team that have been working with us for decades, and we have many guests who have celebrated all of life’s occasions with us. We feel so lucky to have been able to grow along with these families, watch them grow alongside us, and to be a part of their family traditions. I would say we are known for the ever-popular Cheese Rolls and Potato Balls. My mother’s classic Cuban recipe, our Potato Ball, and our family’s interpretation of the traditional pastry, the Cheese Roll are our most requested items, and I think they show a little of what we do. We serve traditional pastries with an international twist, along with a full coffee bar and a kitchen serving house-made soups, and salads, sandwiches, and even a traditional Cuban dinner like my mother used to serve at home.

Our guests know we bake fresh throughout the day, so they have fresh bread and pastries whatever time they come. They know we work closely with our vendors on sourcing quality ingredients, like Belgian chocolate and European butter. We are able to provide this high-quality, fresh food at really reasonable prices. What sets us apart is that we are not just a bakery and café that sells food and beverage, we are a place where memories are made, and families have come together for generations. When a guest comes to us and says, “You made my parents wedding cake, and my quinceañera cake, and I am here picking up an order for my kids 1st birthday party!” it means the world to us. That is exactly what my mother loved doing, bringing family together with food and sharing it with our communities. This is what keeps our passion for our bakeries alive. We get to honor her legacy and continue to feed our communities and even welcome visitors from all over the world. One of the things we are most proud of is our community involvement. We believe our commitment goes beyond the walls of our bakeries, so we measure our success not just by the cakes, pastries, and food we make but the sweet and positive impact we can create in the communities that we call home.

All bakeries proudly donate all unsold pastries and bread nightly to local charities, food pantries, and churches including the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles and Giving Children Hope in Orange County. We are privileged to partner with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in support of their mission to create hope and build healthier futures for all children. Each year through campaigns such as Giving Tuesday and Make March Matter, we directly support the Helping Hands Fund which provides the necessary resources to ensure the hospital can continue providing life-giving and life-saving care for society’s most vulnerable children, now and for future generations. And we are also proud to be able to support our local Veterans each Veterans Day, many local youth sports teams, schools, and the Girls and Boy Scouts of America. I would like readers to know how grateful we are for our guests and how dedicated all our teams are to providing the very best for them. I would like to highlight our team of Chefs who are always learning new techniques and trying to improve what we do. They work hard to make sure we are keeping up with the trends and coming up with new flavors. We have several Chefs with different specialties, and they spend countless hours developing new recipes until we have something we all love and cannot wait to share with our guests.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I think my mother’s principles are part of what has helped us all these years. Our desire to continue to share our food with our friends and neighbors and to make sure we are not only serving the best food but also helping our communities thrive along the way.

Pricing:

  • $16.99 per dozen (Bake at Home pastries)

Contact Info:

West Covina, CA – April 30: Porto’s West Covina Opening on April 30, 2019. (Brian Feinzimer)

Buena Park, CA – March 01: Porto’s Buena Park Opening Day at Porto’s Bakery on March 01, 2017. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)


Image Credits:

DSC00051 – Victor Salazar Potato Balls / Cheese Rolls3 – David Vergne Portos_JPEG_Restaurant-26 – David Vergne Rest of the images: Porto’s Bakery & Cafe

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