Porto’s Bakery & Cafe in Burbank was named the highest rated restaurant in 2016 on Yelp’s list of the 100 best places to eat in the United States.
Business owners attribute the win to social media and their young customers who regularly seek out reviews on Yelp to choose what businesses to patronize as well as offer their own recommendations.
The reason for the Burbank location’s popularity is the same one for all the stores, said Betty Porto, vice president of community relations.
“It’s the quality, the prices and customer service,” she said. “But we also have the studios nearby and younger people and families that use social media — Facebook and Yelp — to share their experiences and encourage new customers.”
The Burbank Porto’s, just like the other locations in Glendale and Downey, are consistently busy. While it’s not unusual to see a line of people stretched out the front doors on a weekend, the bakery’s efficient staff keep the queues moving.
Porto also credited the company’s philosophy to change up its menu as a great way to keep customers coming back.
For the Lenten Season, Porto’s has introduced ceviche with shrimp, New England Clam Chowder and the new seafood potato ball with squid, shrimp and white fish.
“We are introducing these new food items to keep things exciting for our customers because people need to have excitement in their life,” she said.
Yelp, the user-contributed rating website, analyzed a variety of data points from past reviews and announced the findings last week on its blog.
Each restaurant was ranked based on a combination of factors, including the total number of reviews and average rating. Businesses with multiple locations listed were ranked based on the highest rated location. Porto’s Bakery & Cafe locations in Glendale and Downey were also ranked in the Top 100 of this year’s list. The 2016 ranking is based on the aggregate popularity of each restaurant and reviews were considered since the founding of Yelp in 2014.
Porto’s Bakery has made the Yelp list top ten for the past several years, but 2016 marks the first year the Southern California spot has hit number one.
“We come to work every day because we have a passion and our family loves what we do,” added Porto.
Being named the top place to eat in the U.S. by Yelp users “lets us know we are doing something right, especially with the youth.”
She also talked about the bakery’s connection with the Burbank community, noting the bakery is very involved in supporting local grassroots organizations, schools and service groups.
Porto’s Bakery & Cafe was founded by Rosa Porto in Manzanillo, Cuba, shortly before the Porto family emigrated to California. The demand for her cakes grew from the humble origins of the family’s home to the three current locations in Glendale, Burbank, and Downey.
Two new locations are planned, Porto said. The chain is building a new bakery from the ground up in Buena Park, which is scheduled to open in 2016. Then work will begin on a West Covina site, with plans for doors to open in 2017. Managers are already being trained for the new stores at the Glendale, Burbank and Downey locations.
For more information, visit www.portosbakery.com.
Associate Editor Lisa Paredes also contributed to this article.