Atlanta restaurant reviews, culinary news, and gluttonous gossip by admitted foodaholic Serina Patrick

Illegal Food…a Delicious Mess


Illegal FoodLocated behind the Darkhorse Tavern in the Virginia Highlands, Illegal Food began as a pop-up at Joystick Gamebar on Edgewood. Seeking a more permanent home for their famous burgers, founders Steven Lingenfelter and partner Laurie Dominguez took over the lease when Bar Meatball suddenly closed.
Illegal Atlas 016
LC and I stopped in for a late dinner and took up residence at the bar where we started with two house cocktails. You Can Do Magic is a refreshing mix of gin, blackberry and apply honey wine, Dolin Blanc, lemon juice, and bubbles. LC couldn’t resist the quirky Pickle Backs with House Whiskey, basically a shot of pickle juice served with a shot of whiskey, neat.

According to the staff, Illegal Food is the only restaurant in town to receive half a cow each week from Brasstown Beef, our local source of grass-fed beef. It’s butchered in-house, dry-aged for 21 days, and used for nearly everything on the menu, from the sinfully sloppy burgers to their gigantic 70 ounce T-bone steaks…certainly not illegal, but almost. (photo of steak courtesy of Illegal Food).
T-Bone at Illegal Food
There was no doubt I had to try The Hank, the burger that earned Illegal Food its cult following. But I was less certain about what to order on the side. Our neighbors at the bar recommended the fried Brussels sprouts which looked fantastic but nothing really compliments a burger like fries. Not only does Lingenfelter and his team redefine the all-American burger, they also take fries to a whole new level. Beer is also a burger’s best friend so we switched to pints from Starr Hill after our cocktails.
Okonomiyaki Fries at Illegal Food
We decided to try the Okonomiyaki Style, an enormous bowl of skin-on fries topped with a long list of Japanese condiments including fermented chili sauce, bonito flakes, shredded nori, green onion, and sesame seeds. It’s a stand-alone dish that was delivered as an appetizer. Although we really enjoyed the creative, spicy fries, the classic variety would have been a better choice to enjoy with our burgers.
F & H Burger at Illegal Food
There are eight burgers on the menu including one made with pork and another made of ground chicken. LC chose the F & H, a towering take on Holeman & Finch’s famous cheeseburger, ironically served on their equally famous bun. Illegal Food’s version is a double topped with melted American cheese, grilled red onion, and housemade bread and butter pickles. He had to unhinge his jaw.
F & H Burger
Thankfully, The Hank is a single thick patty cooked medium with melted American cheese, Vidalia onions, housemade dill pickles, special sauce, and crispy shredded iceberg lettuce, a nod to everyone’s fast food favorite at In-N-Out Burger. It’s sloppy and satisfying. I would suggest wearing a bib.

Our friends at the bar also let us try some of their housemade beef jerky, flavored with sweet sorghum and spicy seasonings. Quite a deal at only six bucks an order, we took a bag of it home.

1044 Greenwood Avenue 404-254-2141


About Author

Food eater, cat lover, bratwurst expert

Leave A Reply