Illegal Food, purveyor of highly regarded burgers and okonomiyaki fries, has closed in Virginia-Highland. The restaurant announced its shutter on Facebook Wednesday afternoon.
“There is no easy way to say this, but after 2.5 years of blood, sweat, and tears, Illegal Food was forced to unexpectedly close our restaurant on Monday,” the statement reads. “Trust us when we tell you that this was just as much a shock to us as to you. However, it is only a temporary setback and we are already planning our next move into a space and location that better fits our original vision of serving the highest quality food in unique and delicious ways.”
Specific reason for the apparent forced shutter was not announced. However, the Illegal Food team did not own the building it called home. A tipster with an ear to the ground tells Eater Atlanta the property’s landlord had been seeking a replacement, and an established local restaurant may be in line to take over the space.
Operated by the husband-and-wife team of chef Steven Lingenfelter and Laurie Dominguez, Illegal Food started as a pop-up run out of the kitchen at Joystick Gamebar in Sweet Auburn. Lingenfelter’s burgers, particularly “The Hank,” quickly became regular fixtures on local best-of lists. After an acrimonious split with Joystick in 2014, the team announced plans to move into the former Bar Meatball space at 1044 Greenwood Avenue NE. The restaurant opened in February 2015.
Eater Atlanta has reached out to Illegal Food for more information on a possible relocation.