The coveted Hank burger is back in Atlanta, when Illegal Food begins popping up at Boulevard bar Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium, starting May 25.
Operated by chef Steven Lingenfelter and his wife Laurie Dominguez, Illegal Food pops up in the kitchen at Church Wednesday through Saturday evenings, beginning at 5 p.m.
Lingenfelter recently told the AJC the pop-up came about after Church owner Grant Henry reached out following his purchase of the former Corner Tavern space next door to expand the bar. He asked the chef about possibly taking over the kitchen there. Lingenfelter once served as Corner Tavern’s general manager.
For now, Lingenfelter says he plans to keep the menu for Illegal Food at Church “small and easily executable,” which will include the signature Hank burger, along with dishes like a Vietnamese grilled eggplant and the Uncle Mala’s fried chicken sandwich.
The chef says in an Instagram post that he will eventually expand hours for Illegal Food to seven days a week and begin offering snacks like fried pork rinds, pimento cheese, and barbecue hummus on the menu in the evenings, Sunday through Tuesday.
Illegal Food started out as a pop-up at Joystick Gamebar nearby on Edgewood Avenue, where the Hank became a popular fixture on the menu. After departing Joystick in 2014, Lingenfelter and Dominguez opened Illegal Food in the former Bar Meatball space on Greenwood Avenue in Virginia-Highland. It closed in 2017.
Lingenfelter and Dominguez were helping to develop the menu for former Cabbagetown restaurant Mouth of the South, but backed out of the deal before the restaurant opened in 2018 on Carrol Street due to creative differences over the menu. Mouth of the South closed less than a year later and was replaced by JenChan’s, owned by Emily and Jen Chan.
Opening hours for Illegal Food at Church, starting May 25, Wednesday - Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Hours expected to expand to seven days a week. Follow Illegal Food on Instagram for updates.
Public transit information: Accessible via MARTA bus #809 on Boulevard and the Atlanta Streetcar, which includes a stop at Edgewood and Hilliard three blocks away.