Cooper Levey-Baker has written about food, politics, civic issues, the arts, and music in Southwest Florida for a decade. His work has won an honorable mention from the Julia Child Foundation and a Bronze Award for Best In-Depth Reporting from the Florida Magazine Association, and he was named a finalist for Best Public Service Reporting by the Florida Society of Professional Journalists. His fiction earned him a John Ringling Fund Individual Artist Fellowship from the Arts Council of Sarasota County and his rendition of "Drunk in Love" has left karaoke audiences throughout the region bewildered.

Quiet Victory

A Small Mennonite Congregation Breaks LGBT Barriers

Eight years ago, Sarasota's Covenant Mennonite Fellowship was threatened with excommunication for having a gay pastor.

09/27/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Hurricane Babies

What it Was Like to Work the Mother-Baby Unit During the Hurricane

While Hurricane Irma raged outside, more than 20 women were giving birth at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

09/15/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

The Criminal Justice System

Road to Redemption

Formerly incarcerated residents struggle to rebuild their lives and overcome the stigma of serving time.

08/28/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Rock the Vote

How Safe is Your Vote?

Sarasota elections supervisor Ron Turner weighs in.

08/25/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Deal Plan

Sarasota's Best Budget Bites

Forget fine dining. Here's where to find incredible food that won't break the bank.

08/15/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

A View to a Chill

The Star of the New Westin Rooftop Bar? That View

Over the course of a couple hours, I must have uttered some variation of "Holy moly," "Wow" and "Golly" 12 dozen times.

08/09/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Shark Tank

Real Life Controversy Dogs MTV's Siesta Key

Just days before the show premiered, social media sleuths connected star Alex Kompothecras to a viral video that showed four young men, two from prominent Manatee County families, gleefully dragging a shark behind their boat at high speed until it died.

08/02/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Nitrogen Fixation

10 Bucks or Less: Krave n Joy

Tacos and ice cream? Deal me in.

08/02/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Team Sarasota

Meet the New Starting Five on the City Commission

The five power players who make up Team Sarasota.

07/26/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Oodles of Noodles

State Street's Newest Offering: Monday Night Ramen

Mondays just became a little less hellish.

07/25/2017 Photography by Cooper Levey-Baker

Super Smoker

10 Bucks or Less: Sea Smoke

A newish Cortez shop smokes its own fish and bacon, makes head cheese from scratch and serves up dope lunch grub.

07/24/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Diner Leagues

New Diner Opens at Westfield Siesta Key Mall

Metro Diner, a burgeoning chain born in Jacksonville in 1992, recently opened its first Sarasota location in a revamped space inside the Westfield Siesta Key mall.

07/06/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

SUP?

Everything You Need to Know About Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Explore Sarasota’s beautiful backwaters while torching calories.

06/30/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Best Burgers

The Best Burgers in Sarasota-Manatee

This list—our first-ever ranking of the region’s greatest hamburgers—is a tribute to an American icon.

06/27/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Best Burgers

The Best Burgers in Sarasota-Manatee

Plus chefs’ must-have condiments, a plant-based powerhouse, great burger lore—and more.

06/27/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Best Burgers

We Put a Much-Hyped New Veggie Burger to the Test

Beyond Meat claims its Beyond Burger looks and tastes like fresh ground beef. Does it?

06/27/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Best Burgers

Here's the Secret to Council's Bradenton Recreation's Famous Burgers

Owners and cooks come and go. The grill at Council’s Bradenton Recreation remains.

06/27/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Best Burgers

The Best Burgers in Sarasota-Manatee

From brilliant mash-ups to simple classics, these are the 12 best burgers you can get your hands on right now.

06/27/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

There Must Be El Toro in the Atmosphere

10 Bucks or Less: El Toro Bravo

A Sarasota restaurant moves down the road into bigger digs, but its fresh twist on Tex-Mex remains the same.

06/26/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Party City

Sarasota's Catering Business Booms

As Sarasota tourism surges, the catering business booms.

06/07/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker