James Lewis was born 1970 in Montreal, Canada and is the chef and owner of Bettola restaurant.
Lewis is the grandson of restaurateur Phillip George, who operated the Melba Cafe and Jefferson Seafood in downtown Birmingham.
He has a bachelor's degree in business from UAB and trained at the Plumed Horse in Saratoga, California and at in Italy at La Locanda di Bu in Nusco and the Antica Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano. He has also worked at Winston's and Cafe Julien before opening Bettola in 2006.
In 2011 Lewis was honored as one of the "Best New Chefs" by Food & Wine magazine.
In 2013 Lewis fulfilled a dream of opening an Italian-style macelleria (butcher shop), next door to Bettola. He named it Vittoria in honor of his grandmother, Victoria George. In 2015 Vittoria was merged into Bettola. In 2016 James Lewis partnered with his brother, Brian for a burger and fries stall at the Pizitz Food Hall.
Bettola continues to be recognized as one of the best restaurants in Birmingham.