Founder of Popular L.A. Porto’s Bakery & Cafe: Rosa Porto Dies at 89

Published on December 22, 2019

SoCal’s iconic Cuban bakery founder Rosa Porto’s passing shocked Angelenos, as the unsavory news rippled through L.A. via the restaurant’s social media on Saturday, Dec. 14th

The restaurant announced Mrs. Porto passed “peacefully, surrounded by her loving husband and family.”

Beloved Cuban Pastries

Porto’s Bakery is synonymous in L.A., and over the years, its decadent pastries have become a household staple year-round—especially during the holidays. 

The bakery is famous for its Cuban cakes and pastries, guava-and-cheese strudels, potato balls, meat pies and its freshly squeezed sunrise yellow orange juice.

And it is all thanks to Mrs. Porto’s L.A. is home to the most sought out Cuban pastries. As many drive miles to wait in lines longer than Disneyland to get a taste of their favorite treats.

The Early Beginnings of Porto’s

Rosa lost her job and her husband Raul Porto Sr. was sent to a labor camp when Cuba fell to Communism in the late ’50s. 

So Mrs. Porto did what she did best: bake cakes for her friends and neighbors out of her kitchen to support her family, according to the bakery’s website.

Once Mrs. Porto and her family came to the United States they arrived in California with only the clothes on their backs, but with the ambition to succeed.

From a Small Loan to a Booming Business

With the determination to work hard, Rosa continued selling cakes from her home to neighbors and Raul worked as a janitor.

In 1976 the family opened a 300-square-foot bakery on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park with a small loan.

The bakery’s growing popularity helped it expand from Burbank to Buena Park, West Covina, Downey and a soon in Northridge.

According to CBS, the bakery sells more than a million cheese rolls a month, keep the lines long and prices low.

“I think not only the quality and the taste but also the price points that they give the public,” Cuban actor Andy Garcia said to CBS.“The service they give the public, how easy it is to get through here. Even though you see a huge line, it moves quicker than Disneyland. They just know how to do it, they care about it.”

Rosa Porto stepped down in her 60s “to focus her love and passion on raising her seven grandchildren.”

Rosa Porto’s Passing Stirs Sweet Memories on Twitter

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of ‪‪Porto’s Bakery founder and Porto family matriarch, Rosa Porto,” the restaurant announced on its social media accounts. 

And it did not take long for many to flood Twitter with memories and their condolences.

“Rosa Porto’s story is a real American story,” fashion designer Manyak Saakyan tweeted. “It’s a story about women entrepreneurship from the ground up. Porto’s bakery is a fantastic business. Their products are great, their customer service is fantastic too.”

The City of Burbank tweeted, “Burbank is saddened to hear about the passing of Porto’s Bakery found, Rosa Porto,” @BurbankCA said. “Porto’s has become an iconic location in Burbank. Sending out condolences to the entire Porto family.”

Mrs. Porto’s changed L.A.’s culinary scene by gracing our palates with Cuba’s finest cuisine: cementing her family’s name in So-Cal. And her warm smile on each yellow box will only continue to grow over the years.

Kevin Pichinte is a staff writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is a news associate at ABC7 and was formerly a digital news intern at NBC7 and TLM20. At Grit Daily, he covers entertainment and culture news.

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