I have long been a fan of Porto’s Bakery & Cafe and have visited their Glendale location on many occasions for their reasonably priced but more importantly delicious Cuban food and pastries. With additional locations in Burbank and Downey, I heard that they had expanded to yet another new location, this time down in Orange County. The largest Porto’s Bakery & Cafe can be found in Buena Park, home of Knott’s Berry Farm. Opened in March 2017, I finally got a chance to visit the beautiful and spacious new bakery in June.
It’s located in a popular area of Beach Boulevard, sandwiched between special event spots Medieval Times and Pirate’s Dinner Adventure. Although there is a large parking lot behind Porto’s, it got full very quickly and there was even a parking attendant in place by mid-day to help customers back out and others find open spots as quickly as possible.
Upon walking in my friend Krissy and I were a little overwhelmed as the space is indeed spacious. There were three different lines and people milling about everywhere. A friendly greeter helped explain the process. Even though each line was in a different area and labeled Coffee Bar, Bakery or Sandwiches, customers could order anything from each of the three lines. However, the Bakery line had the full assortment of pastries where the Sandwich line had a smaller assortment to choose from.
According to an article I read in the Orange County Register, the staff has the ordering down to a science and can process 100 customer orders in 11 minutes. I would say that is probably very accurate. Of course we were chatting with each other and with other friendly people in line, but we waited no longer than 10-15 minutes. I should add we arrived at 10:15am on a week day.
We decided to share a sandwich, a few potato balls, a small meat pie and a few pastries. The total came to a whopping $18. Oh and I forgot we also ordered iced tea and Porto’s Iced Coffee with condensed milk. The Pan con Lechon sandwich, slow roasted pork with a mojo garlic sauce and pickled onions was served on the softest Cuban bread and was the biggest (most quality) sandwich I’ve ever had for $6.25. Porto’s prides itself on being affordable, with most pastries priced under $1.00 Have you ever tried their Guava Cheese Strudel? You should! For 85cents it will make you very happy.
Speaking of pastries, after lunch we got back in line to put together an assorted box of pastries to share with friends and family. Then we spent a few minutes watching the pastry chefs working in the big open kitchen behind big glass windows. Fascinating. I could watch all day. Porto’s Bakery & Café started in 1976 after the Porto family moved to the US from Cuba. The first bakery, only 300 square feet, opened on Sunset and Silver Lake Boulevards in Los Angeles after the demand for mom Rosa’s (Rosa Magaden dePorto) specialty cakes outgrew their home. Today daughter Betty says her mom Rosa’s staples are still the most popular menu items and they include special occasion cakes, the potato balls, meat pies and croquettes. While Porto’s Bakery & Cafe new location boasts 24,350 square feet, Rosa’s recipes and high standards remain intact, including her motto, “quality is the number one ingredient in everything we do”.
By Trish Procetto