La Imperial Bakery, located at 830 E. Main St., is a scratch bakery and kitchen, serving breakfast and lunch. Check their social media pages for their daily lunch specials, which include everything from mouthwatering burgers to quesadillas to Puerto Rican staples like Mofongo. They also do catering.

How long has your business been open? Did you own/manage other businesses before this one?

2 years.

If your business is relatively new (5 years or less), what inspired you to open your business? Is there something about your personal background or history that made you uniquely suited to open your business?

My husband was an Executive Chef in Boston. We wanted to be closer to family so we moved to Lakeland in 2015. Along with my parents we decided to open a Bakery and Cafe. My husband is the Executive Chef and I run Front of the House. My parents work with the financial and business side of things.

If your business is family-owned or operated, can you tell us what that’s like? What roles do your family members fill in your business?

Yes! We are 100% family-owned and operated. I run Front of the House. My husband, James, is our Executive Chef. My sister, Maggie, works behind the scenes with paperwork and financials. My parents, Carmen and Enrique, are our owners and the also work behind the scenes with the financial and business aspects of the business.

Why did you decide to open your business in Downtown Lakeland? Do you have a special connection to the area? To Lakeland in general?

I grew up in Winter Haven, my parents found Polk County while visiting the area when the Red Sox’s had their Spring Training in Winter Haven and decided to move there in 2001. We grew up driving to Lake Morton and feeding the Swans. It is a very special place in our family! My parents moved to the Lake Hollingsworth area in 2015. When we decided to move from Boston to Florida we wanted to be close to them, so we purchased a home in South Lakeland. We love the feel and location of Downtown Lakeland and decided it would be a great area to start a business!

What’s your favorite item that you offer, and why?

I love our Chicharrones de Pollo! They are Puerto Rican Style Fried Chicken Pieces and they are just the ideal comfort food for me!

When you think about your business, what makes you feel the most proud? What challenges or difficulties have you had to overcome in your personal life or in your business to get to where you are today?

The fact that we can work together as a family on a daily basis and still want to go home and hang out together in our free time! That is really something to be proud of!

What changes did you make to your business during the pandemic?

We added delivery options through UberEats and Postmates, online ordering, and curbside pickup. We are also constantly updating our menu.

What is the most important thing for the community to know about your business right now? What’s the best way they can support you?

We are OPEN and ready to serve you!