Chef James Lewis has made a name and a niche for himself in a city that is increasingly famous for its food.
The chef-owner of Bettola, in the Martin Biscuit Building at Birmingham’s Pepper Place, makes great, authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas, but his inventive entrees are just as popular and he enjoys quite a loyal following. Customers flock to this trattoria, wine bar and pizza place for counter-service lunches, table-service dinners, and wine and craft cocktails on the patio any time.
They’ve been doing so for 12 years.
I visited Bettola for Alabama NewsCenter recently and had a fine time talking with James. You can read the entire piece here and see Brittany Faush’s great video.
“Bettola is a lot of things to a lot of different people,” James told me, and he’s not afraid to experiment with food in ways that appeal to a variety of tastes. “We want to have things that have root in tradition, but we also want to have things that are rooted in change and in depth of flavor and the meshing of ingredients that are both bold and subtle.”
James was named Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine in 2011. In 2012, he was a semifinalist for the James Beard Awards Best Chef: South. He insists, though, that what he does is “about sharing. It’s about giving. A lot of chefs approach it, and it’s about themselves. But for me, it was never supposed to be about me. It was supposed to be about what I want to give to others.”
2930 3rdAvenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35233