Cooper Levey-Baker has written about food, politics, civic issues, the arts, and music in Southwest Florida for 15 years. His work has won multiple awards from the Florida Magazine Association and the Florida Society of Professional Journalists, as well as an honorable mention from the Julia Child Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @LeveyBaker.

Politics

New Rules for 'Hotel Houses' Receive Final Approval

The new rules limit the number of guests who can spend the night in a vacation rental and require the owners of the properties to register with the city.

05/05/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Politics

Sarasota Extends Rules Allowing On-Street Dining

A number of restaurants have taken advantage of the option, but concerns over the cost and the loss of parking spaces for retail shops prompted the city to revisit the program.

05/04/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

The courts

Local Lawsuit Tests Sex Discrimination Rules for Religious Institutions

Christie Leonard says a Bradenton church fired her because of suspicions that she was a lesbian. Was that against the law?

05/04/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

May Days

Old Packinghouse Cafe Adds New Menu Items for May

New dishes include an intriguing Cuban twist on shepherd's pie and a geographically ambiguous sandwich called a "Miami Philly."

05/03/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Rescue Plan

Restaurants Can Start Applying for Revitalization Fund Money on Monday

Grant money can be spent on payroll, mortgage or rent payments, utilities, maintenance, supplies and other expenses.

04/30/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Do-Over

The Florida State Parks Foundation Wants to Plant Another 100,000 New Pine Trees

It worked last year. Why not do it again?

04/29/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

The Review That Wasn't

Revisiting Circo, Downtown Sarasota's 'Taco and Bourbon Joint'

What was it like to eat out before the pandemic? I barely remember.

04/28/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Corky

New Wine Tasting Room and Restaurant Will Open This Summer

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant is looking to hire 140 employees before opening in Fruitville Commons.

04/27/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Sneak Peek

A New Café Is Coming to the Rosemary District

Cafe Arts promises coffee, beer, wine and "bites."

04/26/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

OMG's

A New Short Film Profiles Gordon Gregory of G's Southern Kitchen

Colin Reid's short film about the chef and owner of G's will premiere next week as part of the Sarasota Film Festival.

04/23/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

So close!

State Parks Foundation Nears Goal of Raising $100,000 to Plant 100,000 Pine Trees

Through its Plant a Pine program, the foundation has already put new longleaf pines in the ground in a dozen state parks, including Osprey's Oscar Scherer State Park.

04/21/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Q&A

A New Book From a Sarasota Native Tells the Story of the Fight to Save the Everglades

Amy Green's "Moving Water: The Everglades and Big Sugar" was recently published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

04/19/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨

MTV's 'Siesta Key' Will Return Next Month

New episodes start on Wednesday, May 12.

04/15/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

In Vino Veritas

A New Bistro Has Opened in the Rosemary District

Vino Bistro serves a mix of tapas-like plates, along with an extensive wine list in the former Lolita Tartine space.

04/15/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Summertime Madness

Savor Sarasota Will Return June 1

The list of restaurants participating this year is nowhere near finalized, but it's never too early to start making dinner plans.

04/14/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

🍳🥞🥓🥗☕️

New Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch Spot Coming to South Sarasota

The Lily Café is set to open in The Landings in June.

04/12/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Piney Point

Environmentalists Warn That Piney Point Pollution Could Affect Sarasota Bay

More than 200 million gallons of wastewater have been discharged into Tampa Bay. That could have major effects on the health of Sarasota Bay.

04/09/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

House Party

Oak & Stone Launches New 'House Beer'

The restaurant's Snowbird Pilsner will be available at all locations year-round.

04/07/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Politics

Sarasota Moves Ahead With New Rules for 'Hotel Houses'

The regulations are intended to curtail large-scale vacation rentals on Lido and St. Armands keys.

04/07/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Crisis in Palmetto

Piney Point Evacuation Leaves Residents and Business Owners Scared and Anxious

"It will have lasting effects for years to come for the entire county."

04/05/2021 By Cooper Levey-Baker