Rao’s Bakery, located at 6915 Cypresswood Drive, Spring, celebrates 80 years in business this year. The location serves baked goods, coffee, paninis, cake and other treats. Owner Jake Tortorice, who is Sicilian, said he looks forward to introducing more Sicilian dishes at the cafe, such as arancinis, or stuffed rice balls; gondolas, which are baguettes served with marinara sauce, meat and cheese; and Sicilian-style pizza.
According to Tortorice, the founder of Rao’s, Johnny Rao, who was also Sicilian, opened his first shop in Beaumont in 1941. Rao worked as a cafeteria cook for an ExxonMobil facility in the area; however, Tortorice said Rao's desserts were such a hit, his coworkers encouraged him to open his own bakery.
Tortorice said he has fond memories of visiting the original location as a child and purchasing 15-cent brownies.
“It’s been a long 80 years, but it’s been a successful 80 years,” Tortorice said.
Rao’s Bakery has five locations: one in Spring, three in Beaumont and one in Port Arthur. 281-251-7267. www.raosbakery.com