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Founder of Porto's Bakery & Cafe dies at 92

CBS News Live
CBS News Los Angeles Live

Raul Porto Sr., the founder of the iconic, family-owned Southern California institution Porto's Bakery & Cafe, has died at age 92.

He died Wednesday "surrounded by his loving family," according to a post on the bakery's Instagram page.

"Raul Sr. was an extraordinary man who, alongside his wife Rosa, founded Porto's Bakery from their home kitchen, selling cakes and pastries to friends and family," the post read. "Through their hard work, humility, and dedication, they transformed a small family endeavor into a cherished community treasure."

Porto's Bakery has been a go-to for Angelenos for nearly 50 years. Long lines regularly trail the sidewalk for its baked goods and Cuban specialties. The bakery is renowned for its famous potato balls and its guava cheese pastry named the Refugiado.

The first official Porto's storefront opened on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park in 1976, but it had its beginnings in Cuba.  While the Porto's waited for a chance to come to the United States and going through some financial hard times, Rosa started an illegal cakes business out of her home in Castro-era Cuba.  

Then, in 1971, the family left for the United States and after arriving in California, they opened the Echo Park location.

Raul and Rosa Porto retired several years ago to dedicate their lives to their family, according to the post. Rosa died in 2019 at the age of 89.

Porto's has locations in Burbank, Glendale, Northridge, Buena Park, Downey and West Covina. A seventh location is planned for Downtown Disney District.

"To all our family, friends, and guests from across our communities: while words cannot fully express our sadness at this time, we want to extend our deepest gratitude for your continued support and all the love and kindness you have shown us throughout the years," the Instagram post read.

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