Recently I visited Porto's Bakery, a family-owned bakery cafe establishment and the best reason I can think of to trek to Burbank (or Glendale) on your day off. Porto's has over 35 years of business under their belt, and this becomes crystal clear while ordering: an incredible diversity of fresh pastries line the cases, and the staff impressively runs the place like a well-oiled machine. I'm warned by Porto's regulars that one must have a system before walking into this bakery. It's a little like stepping into a bakery theme park: there are multiple lines for ordering, a limitless amount of desserts to choose from, and then complicating your decision is the Latin America-influenced cafe menu. Pastries I nibbled on included the spinach and feta croissant, the Refugiado (also known as their signature guava and cheese pastry), the Cheese roll, and a strawberry and cheese croissant. Naturally, I couldn't leave without getting my savory on, so I sampled a meat pie and a potato ball as well. What's particularly unbelievable about Porto's is that everything is so fresh, and yet, there's an incredible amount of volume in their bakery cases.
What makes me love this bakery even more is the fact that it has a neighborhood history. There's something really exciting about seeing a bakery business in action that has roots in the community, one that has grown from a family's original vision into a bustling success with two locations.
For more fun facts about Porto's, including a description of the 24-hour preparation process that goes into making their traditional Cuban crackers, read the Frequently Asked Questions on the Porto's website. It was impossible to sample everything in one visit, so watch out for more Porto's posts to come!