Take a bite out of paradise: Margaritaville, chili cookoff and sushi coming to HarborWalk

Special to The Log
Parrotheads of all kinds will love what’s on tap at HarborWalk Village!

What do margaritas, chili and sushi have in common? They will all have their moment in the spotlight at Destin’s HarborWalk Village.

The food and fun begins on Feb. 17 at 10 a.m., when Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville will celebrate its official opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony in true Margaritaville style.  The ceremony will be opened to the general public and the restaurant will officially open for business after the ceremony concludes.

Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville transports guests to the island destination of their memories or dreams.

The menu will feature signature cheeseburgers, coastal entrees and salads, margaritas, of course, boat drinks and iced cold beer. Multi-level, open air dining with spectacular views will make for the perfect place to watch our great sunsets. There will be entertainment nightly and private event space available.  Learn more at 

On Saturday, Feb. 22, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., things will heat up with the 9th annual Emerald Coast Parrot Heads Memorial Chili Cook-Off.

Join the group on National Margarita Day for a day of spiced, spirited competition as chili experts from near and far don their aprons to prove they have the best chili around.  Celebrity judges will decide who has the best chili in Northwest Florida. This party with a purpose benefits Emerald Coast Relay for Life.

Live entertainment features the band Continuum along with great beverages and chili will all come together to create one delicious afternoon you won’t want to miss.

To enter or participate, visit or find them on Facebook. Tasting armbands are $10 in pre-sales and $15 on the day of the event. For advance ticket sales contact Jane Bittman at or call 850-217-0654.

The culinary journey continues on the harbor on March 4, Fat Tuesday, when the harbor’s newest restaurant Jackacudas Seafood & Sushi hosts a ribbon cutting street party with free red beans and rice.

The Jackacudas story is one part fish tale, one part local legend and a boat-load of fun. Everything at Jackacuda's is fresh and local but the flavors are far from ordinary.  Utilizing only the freshest Gulf Coast seafood with a southern twist, co-owners Chris Ruyan and Tyler Jarvis are both locals.

"Growing up here in Destin as the son of a boat captain, fresh seafood is a way of life for my family and that will be reflected in the preparation of the food at Jackacudas,” explained Jarvis.

Executive Chef Tyler McMahan developed his culinary techniques, ranging from creole food to coastal cuisine. McMahan was the Executive Chef for Tommy Bahamas Restaurant Group. McMahan won first place in the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association's 'Chef Heat' competition in 2009 & 2010 and was recognized as 'Top Chef' in Orlando by Travel Host Magazine in 2011.

Sushi Chef Efrain Tirado began working in California where his drive pushed him to chase his innovative fusion style throughout the West Coast eventually landing him at Nobu Restaurant, one of the world's most famous Japanese restaurants. There he found a passion for using local ingredients, house made sauces and artistic presentations. Learn more at or find them on Facebook.


ARTwalk on the Harbor, set for Sunday, Feb. 16, features local and regional artists and vendors along the Destin Boardwalk from HarborWalk Village to AJ’s. This event is free to the public and will take place on the 3rd Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. See for more information.