Birthday Edition, Part 2: Porto’s Glendale

by Jessica on October 27, 2011

Kid Hit Menu Items: Porto’s is your all-purpose friend for sandwiches, finger foods, endless sweets and special occasion cakes. Although honestly, when we eat food from Porto’s it’s usually at parties because the catering service is reliable and priced right. I think we’ve over-served the fried potato and ground beef balls at this point, but otherwise the goods are crowd-pleasers and work well for small hands and eating on the go.

Adult Perks: Cortaditos, a lot of coffee drinks and some specialty sodas, plus extra sweet blended stuff and fruit smoothies. Squeeze in some people watching while eating salads, soups, sandwiches and whatever else you’ve ordered after waiting in those lines that will revive Disneyland-based sensory memories.

Pros: It’s impossible to mistake an enormous, teeming, always busy, always loud restaurant and bakery for anything OTHER than a completely family-friendly place with lots of multi-generational groups eating together.

Cons: Busy and loud. The snaking lines move quickly but are initially daunting. Both the sweets and savories can look and taste assembly-line, and the food coloring factor is out of control. You either just give into it, or order a plain cake and do DIY decorating, although it will be way less thrilling to kids than fanciful airport runways and Hello Kitty scenes that jump off the pages of the cake catalogs upstairs in the party supply room and dazzle from the designated cake pick-up area’s cases. Finally I’ve learned to control my there-won’t-be-enough-cake panic impulses and stick with the smallest option.

Changing Station: Yes

High Chairs: Yes

Parking and Access: Spaces on Brand Blvd. and in the municipal parking lot behind with access into Porto’s on both sides.

Other Tidbits: Porto’s is more than just a restaurant to eat robust omelettes and egg sandwiches at breakfast, medianoche sandwiches, frothy fresh orange juice and cookies and pastries. The Glendale cultural landmark is also a major entry in the annals of Los Angeles-area food businesses that double as community centers. While being a gathering spot for Cubans and Cuban Americans throughout the region, it’s turned into a well-oiled machine doing MASSIVE volume business in three locations. The inner workings seem magical and mysterious; the complexity of Porto’s food production mechanics and efficiently moving customers through is on par with major transit hub operations. Employees keep their cool despite the crushing crowds and relentless turnover.

And anyone who orders a cake from the party center in the mezzanine above the bakery sees how Porto’s has figured it ALL out. This is sure an entrepreneurial bunch. Need to grab some party favors, plates, extra cake toppers, balloons and piñatas at the last minute? Just pick it all up at one-stop-shopping Porto’s and save yourself the trip. Ordering The Cake  (all orders go into a centralized computer system) has become an important part of the birthday ritual in our family, and Porto’s forever earned our loyalty last week when they gave us a sampler plate as if we were prospective wedding customers or something much more important than just a little family picking out a quarter-sheet baseball-themed cake. One word of caution without going into details: avoid anything that involves dark black frosting.


315 N. Brand Blvd.
Glendale, California 91203
(818) 956-5996
: Cuba, Bakery
Price: $
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

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