The James Beard Foundation announced the 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists, and two Alabama restaurants and one Alabama chef are in the running.

Pizza Grace in Birmingham was nominated in the “Best New Restaurant” category. The restaurant has been open for just over a year. According to its website, Pizza Grace uses “simple elegance and refinement of movement” as its approach to cooking and baking.

Bottega, in Birmingham, is nominated for “Outstanding Hospitality.” The restaurant serves refined Italian and Mediterranean fine dining and is known among locals for its sense of hospitality and positive atmosphere.

Once again, chef Timothy Hontzas of Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood was nominated for “Best Chef.” Johnny’s has been in operation since 2012. It is a Greek “meat and three” offering classic comfort food and specialties. Hontaz, who grew up around the culinary scene, said he always wanted to own his own restaurant and serve his passion to others.

The James Beard Foundation has been awarding outstanding restaurants and chefs since 1991. There are currently 23 categories represented.

Winners will be announced on March 29 and receive their awards on June 5 at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

To view the full list of semifinalists, click here.

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