In 1960, the Porto family made the tough decision to leave their home in Manzanillo, Cuba after living through drastic changes in the country. When they requested permission to leave Cuba, Raul Sr. was immediately terminated from his job and sent away to manual labor for the duration of the wait period. Raul’s wife Rosa was also let go.
Knowing that it might take years 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, perfected her recipes and began selling her delicious cakes to friends and neighbors. 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.
The Portos continued with the cake business and when their home could no longer accommodate the increased demand, opened a 300-square foot bakery on Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake.
French mousses, Italian sweets, and international savories soon joined Rosa’s Cuban cakes. Further expansion included a Café with a menu showcasing signature Cuban sandwiches and lunch favorites.
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 is still family owned with stores in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, with plans for expansion.
Visit Porto’s at portosbakery.com.