A True Long Beach Star, Tito’s Bakery Specializes in City’s Best Burritos

The asada torta and vegetarian burrito No. 2: A perfect pairing. Photo by Erin DeWitt

Locals will tell you that one of the best breakfast burritos in Long Beach can be found at Tito’s Bakery, a mini Mexican panadería and more on Fourth Street and Cerritos Avenue. The breakfast burritos here are the bulky, messy, hangover-curing stuff of legend—and so are the huevos rancheros and the chilaquiles. Tito’s stops serving breakfast at 11 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. daily, leaving 11 hours to serve up equally notable lunch and dinner options.

Specifically, I’m talking about the tortas—or, as Tito’s labels them on the menu, “Deliciosas Tortas.” A fresh-baked telera roll is split open and toasted, with a quick swipe of creamy mayo applied to one side and a slathering of even-creamier refried beans on the other. It’s then piled with thinly sliced carne asada (cooked on the grill), lettuce, onions, tomato and avocado. Somewhere among the layers hides a peppery heat that’ll have you grasping for a Mexican Coke or horchata. One torta is sizable enough for a substantial lunch, but two is doable. And you’ll want another one.

The burritos start with massive flour tortillas, perfectly charred in spots, and are available in the classic assortment of fillings: bean and cheese, asada, pollo, carnitas, and al pastor. There’s a veggie burrito with all the basics sans meat, but opt for the vegetarian burrito No. 2 and get a generous helping of tangy green chunks of nopales (cactus) throughout, plus avocado.

There are also tostadas, sopes and quesadillas, all with the option of pollo or asada, plus soft tacos (hello, cabeza!). And there are combination plates (beans, rice and tortillas) with protein choices such as chicharrónes or bistec ranchero.

You can eat there, sitting either at the tiny three-stool bar that comfortably seats two, max, or at one of the patio tables outside. Tito’s Bakery is really more of a to-go spot, with items wrapped in yellow paper, then reinforced in foil. With each order, the staff will throw in a few tubs of essential salsa—a bright salsa verde and a light-you-up orange option.

But Tito’s Bakery is still a panadería, and though the operation can very well stand alone as a traditional Mexican eatery, the pan dulce is pretty legit. Much of the tiny space is dedicated to a massive pastry case, showcasing a plentitude of muffins, pan danes (danishes), galletas (cookies), conchas, and—a personal favorite—nino envueltos: a not-too-sweet and dense roll lined with tart strawberry jam and covered in delicate coconut flakes. They’re baked fresh every day.

Strawberry, meet coconut. Photo by Erin DeWitt

There’s no shortage of sugar here. Under the ordering counter are rows upon rows of flan and tres leches cake, as well as a rainbow of pastel-colored gelatins and creams. The infallible recommendation is (and will always be) the tres leches, a thin layer of soft Cool Whip-style frosting topping a pale yellow square of cake that’s nestled in a pool of thick, sweetened condensed milk. Be extra-careful transporting it, or you’ll find a puddle of said dairy at the bottom of your carryout bag.

There’s no website or marketing campaigns, just an unofficial Facebook page on which customers post photos and testimonials. Tito’s Bakery has been open for 23 years. It doesn’t need to advertise. Its regulars already know where it is, when it’s open, and what they’re going to order before they walk in. Ask owner Norberto Cruz what his favorite thing on the menu is, and he’ll just laugh and say, “Everything.”

Yep, same here.

Tito’s Bakery, 1107 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 432-7272.

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