Meaghan Habuda - Times Features Producer

Times Features Producer

I’m a Florida native who began covering the Tampa Bay bar and restaurant scene more than five years ago. After graduating from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, I cut my teeth in journalism with local alternative weekly Creative Loafing, where I served as food and drink editor. I joined the Times in 2019 and will continue to sniff out all sorts of food news — openings and closings, events, chef moves, you name it — while spearheading other print and web duties on the Features team. So, yes, tip me off to all of the scoops, including the ice cream kind.

  1. Cipresso is the modern Italian-American trattoria that recently opened at Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
    Aloha to Go, Kobe and Apple Spice also expanded locally, plus St. Petersburg’s Burrito Boarder has closed and a food hall is coming to Sundial.
  2. The Tampa Greek Festival will invade St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church this weekend with Mediterranean-style food, including pastries.
    Treat your taste buds at the Tampa Greek Festival, Chowder Challenge, Tampa Bay Veg Fest, Flavor of West Tampa, Florida Ferment Fest and more.
  3. Downtown St. Petersburg's lively social gaming bar Park & Rec has brought its signature Party Pouches and throwback fun to Tampa.
    Mata’s Philippine Cuisine has also launched in Tampa, plus St. Petersburg’s Italy Bottega and Tampa’s Rome + Fig are coming.
  4. Psomi, a Greek-American bakery and restaurant coming to Tampa, will provide table service in the dining room or on the back patio.
    Say it with us: “so-me.”
  5. Bites by local restaurants are the main draw of Largo Taste Fest, which will return to the Highland Family Aquatic Center on Saturday.
    Down local eats at Largo Taste Fest or Savor St. Pete, plus To the Rescue raises money for animals and pitmaster Myron Mixon leads a class in Tampa.
  6. In Tampa, Guthrie's packs its regular-sized box of fried chicken fingers with signature sauce, crinkle-cut fries, Texas toast and coleslaw.
    A Friend Who Bakes in Gulfport, Irish pub and grill Harps of Trinity and Volcan De Mi Tierra in Tampa also arrive.
  7. Barterhouse, which will debut in Tampa this month, has modeled its relaxed-meets-refined speakeasy atmosphere after 1920s-’50s Ybor City.
    Look forward to approachable, elevated dishes and bold drinks served in a speakeasy setting.
  8. Chefs Ricardo Castro, left, and Rosana Rivera in Kitchen Stadium for their episode of "Beat Bobby Flay."
    Here’s when, and where, to tune in.
  9. Cooters Crab Fest will return to the Clearwater Beach restaurant and bar for its 26th year on Thursday.
    Cooters Crab Fest and stone crab weekend at Frenchy’s and Palm Pavilion, plus Il Ritorno’s Midnight Chef Fight comes to a close and Pair O’ Dice Brewing turns 6.
  10. Tostones Inc.'s signature item, tostones, are served at its new Tampa restaurant, as is the customizable rice bowl.
    More pizza and poke also come to town.