Porto’s Bakery & Café is the local home away from home

Maria Martinez, Staff Writer

Porto’s Bakery and Café is my favorite place to go, to enjoy their delicious grilled chicken sandwich, their white chocolate mocha drink, and my favorite red velvet cupcake.”

Rosa Porto, a talented cake maker was the one who established Porto’s Bakery & Cafe and brought it from Cuba to California. Customers have traveled from all over, just to have a taste of their legendary potato balls, cheese rolls, red velvet cupcakes and the list goes on and on. Read about the living legend Jimmy John Founder of a famous sandwich joint.

Many years later, her legacy continues.

In 1960, Raul Porto and his wife Rosa were terminated from their jobs. Rosa and Raul have three children Beatriz, Raul Jr., and Margarita.Rosa, who had a passion for baking, began selling her delicious cakes to friends and neighbors to support the family through this rough time.

The family made a tough decision to leave their home and emigrate from Cuba to California.

Once they arrived to California, Rosa embarked on selling her cakes. The business was expanding and could no longer sell from their home. They opened a little 280 square foot bakery on Sunset Blvd, in the Echo Park area.

Customers came in for their well-known cheese rolls, guava and cheese strudels, and the famous Potato Ball.

By the 1980s, their children took over the business and expanded to three different locations in Southern California. There are now bakeries in Glendale, Burbank, and Downey.

I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Rosa’s daughters, Beatriz Porto. Beatriz is the owner of Porto’s Bakery and Café, along with her brother and sister. “Motivating the crew is a full time job; we motivate them in different ways.” Beatriz said. One example used to motivate the other is having each store compete against each other.

Whichever store sells the most food items will receive vouchers for lunch. Another form of motivation that they utilize is holding general meetings once a month where employees are recognized from all of the bakeries for being on time every day and for their customer service reputation for example.

Recently, the company celebrated six months of being accident free and had a party for their employees. As a result, the employees stay motivated to work hard and keep up the good work. The siblings are always thinking out of the box to motivate people to be on the same page.

“Whether they stay or not, if they’re good employees we will recommend them.” Insurance is another perk for employees working for Porto’s.

One of Porto’s main goals is to succeed as a team and to train their employees to work hard and learn new things along the way. They run a tight ship, seeking to keep everything well organized and aim to work well together as a family.

Team meetings for the employees are important. Not only do employees have to work as a team, but they have to respect and like each other in order for there to be a productive and welcoming environment.

As one of the owners, Beatriz’s biggest responsibility is to keep people employed. They currently have 900 employees. “I see 900 families that are depending on me and it’s my job to sell more, bring in more customers, keep them engaged, and have the employees working in a safe environment.” Beatriz also works by giving back to the community and different organizations.

Beatriz loves what she does. She started working at the bakery when she was 16-years-old and has not stopped. She graduated from high school, went to college, and graduated with a master’s degree in political science, but decided to stick to the family business. “I am a people person. I have fallen in love with the business to the point that I decided to stay behind.” Beatriz said.

Employees working and assisting customers with their pastries and cakes.
Maria Martinez/ El Paisano
Employees work and assist customers with their pastries and cakes.

To thrive, an employee must treat people with respect, and lead by example. If you’re interested in working at Porto’s being able to smile from ear to ear couldn’t hurt your chances of being hired.

Porto’s Bakery and Café is my favorite place to go to, to enjoy their delicious grilled chicken sandwich, their white chocolate mocha drink, and my favorite red velvet cupcake.

I highly recommend that people stop by this bakery and try their delicious Cuban food or their fantastic pastries. Not only do they supply their customers with tasty food, but the employees, patrons and environment give off the feeling that you’re at home with the family.

Customers receive their ordered of coffees and other beverages.
Maria Martinez
Customers receive their order of coffees and other beverages.