Erick Williams opened Chicago’s Virtue Restaurant in 2018 with a commitment to promoting social justice and the African American culinary legacy.
Last April, Virtue discontinued its carryout program to focus on providing meals to workers at University of Chicago Hospital. Donations enabled him to keep half his staff employed and by June, they had served nearly 10,000 meals.
But Williams also believes that as a “cornerstone of the community” restaurants can be vocal advocates for social reform. Following the protests that swept the country in June, he partnered with EXPO Chicago and artist Amanda Williams (no relation) to co-host a virtual fundraising dinner to further dialogue about Black expression in America; it raised $20,000 for Enrich Chicago, which works to eradicate racism and promote equality.