It’s been nearly eight months since Southern Goods, Lyle Bento’s shrimp-and-grits and fried green tomato restaurant in the Heights, caught fire. Now it’s officially closed for good, and Bento is coming back to his old team.
Bento, who rose through the ranks as a line cook and then sous chef at Chris Shepherd’s Underbelly, will run the catering program at Shepherd’s Underbelly Hospitality, according to a press release. Along with that, he’ll oversee UBH’s kiosks in NRG Stadium, which will be rebranded as Georgia James (the name of the new steakhouse Shepherd is opening in the old Underbelly location).
According to the hospitality group, Bento has already been working Shepherd’s kitchens–Hay Merchant, One Fifth, UB Preserv—which has two benefits: One, he can step in at any time and lead those kitchens, and two, his catering menus will reflect a fusion of the Shepherd concepts. Bento will be running his catering team in a Montrose bungalow, which will also be used as a private events space for UBH.
“As Underbelly Hospitality grows, we want to bring our family back,” said Shepherd in the release. “We’ve had a catering program for a few years as an extension of Underbelly’s offerings, but now that the company is growing, our catering capabilities have grown as well. Lyle understands the Underbelly philosophy and our commitment to quality. Plus, he’s a damn good cook and a great leader. Everyone at UBH is thrilled to have him back.”
We’re just hoping Bento finds a way to get that fried Texas quail into his catering menus. We’ll throw a party just to have that.