Virtue's chef and owner, Erick Williams, is a finalist for a James Beard Award.

Erick Williams is a finalist for a James Beard Award as the best chef in the Great Lakes region.

Williams, executive chef and owner Virtue, 1462 E. 53rd St., opened the Southern American restaurant in November 2018. The Great Lakes region covers four states, but each of the six chefs nominated works in Chicago.  

The winners of the award — one of the most prestigious culinary prizes in the country — won’t be announced until September.

Meanwhile, Virtue has shifted focus during the Covid-19 pandemic and is raising money to provide meals for first responders. You can donate to the restaurant’s GoFundMe here.

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