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Day Trips

From wedding cakes to king cakes, Rao's Bakery has you covered

By Gerald E. McLeod, Fri., July 25, 2014

Day Trips

Rao's Bakery in Beaumont has food to quench just about any craving. This is the place where local brides go for their wedding cakes, families go for their birthday cakes, and where the neighborhood stops for coffee and breakfast in the morning.

Day Trips

Founded in 1941 by Johnny Rao, an Italian immigrant to Southeast Texas, the bakery quickly became a local breakfast institution. Even though Beaumont's oldest bakery passed through several hands, it never closed. "I remember coming here when I was a kid," says Jake Tortorice.

Jake has a quick smile, a firm handshake, and a passion for baking. Since he bought the bakery in 1998, he has improved on the old standards and added new traditions. He went to Italy to learn the craft of pastries.

Day Trips
Photos by Gerald E. Mcleod

Jake brought back the recipe for a Sicilian-style cheesecake that is creamy and intense. He also expanded the menu to include custom-made gelato and deli sandwiches.

Of course, he maintains a long list of Texas' favorite foods. "East-side kolaches have meat unlike on the west side of Houston, which has fruit-filled kolaches. We're east-side," he says with pride. The bakery is also the most reliable place to get king cakes during Mardi Gras. They'll even mail them to you.

Rao's Bakery has grown to five locations, with three in Beaumont and one each in Spring and Nederland. For more information or to place an order, call 409/832-0252, or go to www.raosbakery.com.

1,199th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2 a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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