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Illegal Food’s Hank Burger Isn’t Coming to Cabbagetown After All

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Illegal Food severs all ties with forthcoming Mouth of the South restaurant on Carroll Street

Illegal Food
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

Sorry, Cabbagetown, Illegal Food is no longer on board with the forthcoming Carroll Street restaurant Mouth of the South, co-owner Laurie Dominguez says. Dominguez and chef-husband-partner Steven Lingenfelter announced their split, effective immediately, with the restaurant on Monday.

Part of the prepared statement sent to Eater Atlanta from the couple sheds a little light on what went down between Mouth of the South and Illegal Food.

As consultants to the group of owners, we tried our best to bring the commitment to quality ingredients, and original menu items that our customers expect from our Illegal Food and the Mouth of the South pop-up concepts. Unfortunately, the owners decided to rely on their own vision for this restaurant and we can not in good conscience lead our loyal customers to believe that you will be getting the delicious menu items or product quality that you came to love from us in the past.

Mouth of the South still plans to open the restaurant at 186 Carroll Street despite the split with its chef and creator of the popular Hank burger. The listicle-worthy burger was made famous at Illegal’s now shuttered spot in Virginia-Highland. Last month, the Supper Club Restaurant Group announced its plans to open Tiki Iniki in the former Illegal Food space.

The statement goes on to say that the couple “in no way endorses Mouth of the South in Cabbagetown or any of its food and beverages” and are “working hard to find a good fit for food where we will not have to compromise our integrity or be bound in our creativity.”

Lingenfelter and Dominguez have a few projects already in the works. This includes venturing into whole hog cooking—a 50-year tradition in Lingenfelter’s family—as well as pop-ups, private dinners, and catering. Dominguez says there’s a chance Illegal Food could make appearances at festivals and farmers markets around Atlanta, too.

Chef Steven Lingenfelter’s paternal grandfather preparing a whole hog
Illegal Food

Mouth of the South provided Eater Atlanta with the following statement regarding the split with Illegal Food:

The breakup with Illegal Food was unfortunate and we wish them the best of luck. However, we are pleased this has given us the freedom to expand and improve our menu to meet the needs of the neighborhood more effectively. We are still on track to open in the next few weeks.

Update, July 2, 3 p.m.: This story was updated with comments from Mouth of the South.

Illegal Food

1044 Greenwood Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306 (404) 254-2141

Little's Food Store

198 Carroll Street Southeast, , GA 30312 (404) 963-7012 Visit Website