Illegal Food

Founded in 2013 by Chef Steven Lingenfelter and Laurie Dominguez, Illegal Food is located in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood after gaining popularity in the Old Fourth Ward with a successful pop-up restaurant. Focused on fresh, local ingredients, Illegal Food is more than just an incredible burger. Boasting the kind of dishes that put standard menus to shame, Illegal Food features unique specials which rotate nightly depending on seasonal ingredients and daring combinations that Atlanta has grown to love from Chef Steven.

Photo: Daniel Davis

Steven Lingenfelter


Chef Steven Lingenfelter is a native of Louisville and started his culinary dream at the tender age of 9. He acquired his degree at a university of culinary arts in New England and has held positions at several prominent Atlanta restaurants such as Spotter Trotter, Veni Vedi Vici, Alluvia at The Cheetah Lounge and Antica Posta.

In 2009, he started a rogue underground food company to avoid getting burnt out from the industry completely — so he began making his favorite foods from scratch and gained a cult following. Four years later, Lingenfelter’s ingenuity led him to reinvent classics at Illegal Food. Since launching in April 2013, Illegal Food has garnered praise from Zagat and Business Insider for Best Burger in Georgia, as well as attention from publications like The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Serious Eats and Thrillist.

Illegal Food was the People’s Choice Award Winner for Taste Old Fourth Ward this past May. Its Okonomiyaki-style fries were featured on ABC’s "Good Morning America" as one of the country's "craziest" fries. After outgrowing his resident pop-up in August 2013, Lingenfelter recently found a new opportunity to expand his creations, which is something his 9,000-plus Facebook fans would appreciate.

Front of House is led by Steven’s wife, Laurie Dominguez, originally from Miami, with over 10 years in service and management.  Over the last 16 months, she assisted Lingenfelter in getting Illegal Food off the ground and gained invaluable experience in the kitchen that will help along the way.