James W. Wallace is founder and owner of Diaspora Restaurant Group, which includes Abay Ethiopian Cuisine, Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen, and Diaspora Catering. Jamie received his B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from West Virginia University and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he was an Associate Editor of The Journal of Law and Commerce. After his first year of law school, Mr. Wallace studied and traveled in the East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania. Following law school, Jamie worked as an associate with Buchanan Ingersoll Professional Corporation, where his practice focused on mergers and acquisitions and venture capital financings. Thereafter, he took a position as in-house counsel at Alcoa Inc., where he broadened his legal experience by working on a wide array of commercial transactions. In 2004, Mr. Wallace satisfied his dual desire to both contribute to the revitalization of Pittsburgh and add to its cultural fabric by purchasing a building in East Liberty and opening Abay.
Abay has been named best new restaurant by the Pittsburgh City Paper, selected as one of the top 25 restaurants in the region by Pittsburgh Magazine, and consistently sits in the top 10 of restaurants on sites such as Urbanspoon. Jamie has been selected as a “40 Under 40” honoree by Pittsburgh Magazine, an award that acknowledges 40 individuals under the age of 40 who are making a positive impact in the Pittsburgh area.
Mr. Wallace is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and remains admitted to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. A graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh, Jamie remains engaged with the local community through various board activity. He is the Secretary of East Liberty Development, Inc., the Chair of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s Seat at the Table, sits on the Nominating Committee for the American Cancer Society, and is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates' Diversity Advisory Committee.
Jamie resides in Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood with his wife, an Environmental Engineer who keeps him involved in the green movement.