It’s official: Porto’s Bakery & Café is coming to Northridge. Owners Margarita Navarro, Betty Porto and Raul Porto have signed a lease to repurpose the shuttered 14,854-square-foot Sears Auto Center in the parking lot of Northridge Fashion Center for the new location. It will be Porto’s sixth bakery in Los Angeles County, and will serve the brand’s beloved sandwiches and savory pastries to northern-Valley residents for whom existing locations are too far to reach. “We surveyed 5,000 customers to find out where they are coming from. And some customers place orders over the phone so we get their addresses. Based on data from both of these (sources), it let us know we have a ton of people coming from that overall vicinity,” Raul Porto told the Business Journal. He said it will be a challenge to turn the auto repair shop into a bakery. After clearing out the interior, he plans to raise the roof to make the building stand out more. Between the permitting process, renovating the building, installing equipment and training employees, Porto estimates it will be a year and a half before the Northridge location is open for business. “It’s a big project,” he said. “We’ve been after Northridge for over seven years now. We have a lot of special needs that a fast food restaurant doesn’t. (The right property) was difficult to find. I know a lot of our customers want us to grow much quicker and I do too, but it’s just impossible.” The news of Porto’s Northridge expansion comes shortly after the bakery opened its fifth location in West Covina. The 22,000-square-foot storefront at the west end of the Plaza West Covina Mall on Sunset Avenue held its grand opening in late April to massive crowds. “The response we’ve gotten from that community is overwhelming. It is doing incredibly well, better than the openings of any of our other stores,” Porto said. When the Northridge location opens, Porto’s fans can count on the typical overlong lines for the bakery’s signature potato balls and Cuban sandwiches. Porto’s has additional locations in Burbank, Glendale, Downey and Buena Park. The bakery’s sandwiches range from $6-9, while pastries range from $1-4.