Behind the scenes with five up-and-coming food concepts being refined in Catapult Kitchen and a look at the success of an alum.


From a diminutive basement area to an expansive professional workspace, the evolution of Catapult’s Kitchen Incubator is nothing short of remarkable. It mirrors the Incubator entrepreneurs’ transformations of raw-ingredient culinary ideas and passion into delicious meals shared with friends. Kitchen Director Maggie Leach tells us how the Incubator works as its members share their most distinctive creations with us.

You’re much more likely to sit across from your favorite people and eat this scrumptious food because the Catapult Kitchen Incubator exists. Even with incredible cuisine, the difficulty of the traditional restaurant business path is proverbial; getting one’s painstakingly prepared and crafted product in front of hungry patrons after start-up, maintenance, staff, marketing, and inevitable mistake-and-adjustment costs is daunting.

But the 5,000 square-foot Incubator, which currently houses 30 members with capacity for 50, bridges that treacherous gap from concept to consumption for its culinary entrepreneurs. In addition to offering commercial equipment and 24/7 access for late/early food preparation, this side of Catapult, like its Workspace side, offers all those great benefits conducive to success: networking, collaboration and education – especially the demystification of food regulations. As Maggie explains, “There’s guidance on permitting, inspections, and accounting with the goal of each business having its own brick-and-mortar location – or being part of a manufacturing process – in six months to three years. This grows Lakeland’s culinary economy and provides Lakelanders with locally-sourced options.”

Maggie came to the first version of Catapult more than five years ago as she was writing a thesis on restaurant entrepreneurship at Southeastern University. The kitchen was barely 250 square feet – and the equipment was the entire offering. “At that time, members had to acquire their own permits,” Maggie says.

But even those limitations didn’t hinder the Kitchen Incubator as the launchpad for Crumbles and Cream, Krazy Kombucha, Honeycomb Bread Bakers, The Salty Cow, No Guilt Baking Company, and Born & Bread Bakehouse. In its new form, the Incubator boasts Wafu, Asian Food Mart, and Whisk the Sweet Bakeshop.

There will surely be many more to join Lakeland’s culinary pantheon from Catapult’s Kitchen Incubator. Here’s a visual foretaste of the incredible food being crafted there right now. And there’s even better news: you don’t have to wait to try it. Visit for a calendar of Kitchen Pop-Ups – a rotating line-up of Incubator members serve up their best creations from a window on the east side of the Catapult building near the Lakeland Station – there’s even covered outdoor seating. Now, feast your eyes!

Baking Brewer

Vegetation Plant Foods