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Illegal Food Is Crowdsourcing for Donations, Hopes to Open Soon

The pop-up-turned-restaurant is trying to replenish its operating fund.

Illegal Food

Having exceeded its budget for renovations, the Illegal Food team is looking to fans for help. The forthcoming Virginia-Highland restaurant, which started as a pop-up inside Joystick Gamebar, is holding a fundraiser and offering different levels of prizes.

"We signed the lease for the place and wanted to use our savings to fund the restaurant renovation, allowing us to not have to take out any loans," owner Steven Lingenfelter said in a prepared statement. "Though we still haven't yet had to do that, we used a lot of our resources to get our doors open and we're hoping our supporters can help us out to get us started."

Illegal Food is moving into the former Bar Meatball space at 1044 Greenwood Avenue NE. The restaurant hopes to open soon, but in the meantime is trying to raise $25,000. Prizes range from donations of $10 to $10,000. A few of the rewards, according to a release:

  • Pledge $10 or more: Receive a big ol' "Thank You!" on our Web site's "Founder's Page" and our everlasting gratitude
  • $50: Receive a badass Illegal Food trucker hat & two Illegal Food koozies.
  • (5 supporters) $200: We receive fresh pork belly, you participate in curing it with Steven, and then it's smoked afterward. You get to take home 5 pounds of the best bacon you've ever had! (locals only, please).
  • (1 supporter): $10,000: Illegal Food will be the glad hosts for you and 99 of your close (or not-so-close) friends! It will be held on a Monday because we are not open to the public on those days. We will provide passed appetizers and a cocktail reception, followed by salads, entreés and desserts with limited bar.
  • Want to put up your money to help Illegal Food open? The restaurant is accepting donations online.