Which closed Lakeland business would you bring back?

From retailers to restaurants, you told us which businesses you think deserve a second chance.

maas brothers

Maas Brothers in downtown Lakeland, c. 1980s

Photo via Lakeland Public Library

The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson said it best: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” When it comes to bygone Lakeland businesses, we can’t help but agree — there are always some we wish we could visit again. After nearly 700 responses poured in, here are the businesses you miss the most.

An overwhelming number of readers remember shopping at the Maas Brothers department store + grabbing a bite from the in-store restaurant from 1954 to 1994. Others wish they could head downtown to Nathan’s Men’s Store, which was open for 78 years.

On Instagram, followers pined for dinner and a show at Mugs and Movies, one of the former theaters at the Palm Cinema 3. The South Florida Avenue movie theater closed in 2016 after serving beer and bites since 1986.

Exterior shot of Crispers in downtown Lakeland

Crispers closed its four remaining locations in fall of 2022.

Photo by LALtoday

The pain of losing Crispers in 2022 is still as fresh as its salads, and readers still crave their favorite dishes — as @jillkb22 says, “The soups. The pick a pair. Real ones remember their massive baked potatoes and loaded potato flatbread.”

Favorite lunch spots are hard to let go of, so Deli Delicacies was also frequently mentioned. Reader Melinda H. tells us it “was a great place to pick up sandwiches, pastries, cheesecakes, have breakfast.” And who can forget La Imperial Bakery? We especially miss the Cuban sandwiches + guava pastries.

Do you have another former biz in mind? Tell us about it or reminisce with other Lakelanders on Instagram and Facebook. If you’re looking for a favorite former restaurant, check out more eateries our readers would bring back.

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