Chicken and Waffles

Illegal Food Atlanta Takes Brunch To New Heights



What is the weekend without brunch? It’s the only time you have an excuse to enjoy a cocktail before noon and it’s a great way to catch up with old friends. Brunch often consists of the typical eggs benedict and pancakes but there’s nothing wrong with going off the beaten path. Located in the historic neighborhood of Virginia Highlands in Atlanta just 5 or so minutes from downtown is Illegal Food. Known for its killer burgers, this restaurant has received several awards over the years that includes, Best Burger in Atlanta by Zagat, Best Fries by Atlanta Magazine and Best Burger in the State by Business Insider.

Louisville, KY native and Executive Chef Steven Lingenfelter has been in the kitchen in a long time having started his passion for food at the age of 9. He eventually continued his education later at the University of Culinary Arts in New England. He has worked at some of Atlanta’s best restaurants that include Veni Vidi Vici and Antica Posta. Steven and his wife Laurie started Illegal Food as a pop up in 2013 (on Edgewood Ave inside Joystick Gamebar) and ran the business out of there for 15 months. They later vacated that spot, moving to Virginia Highland in October of 2014 and opened Illegal Food’s first brick and mortar there in February of last year.

It was a beautiful day in Atlanta with clear blue skies, sunshine and a crisp breeze which are all the makings for a perfect brunch. As we waited for a table in the open air, bar-like area with high top marble counters and bar stools at the front of restaurant, it was the perfect place to feel the crisp breeze and admire the historic homes that surround the restaurant. The floors are lined with subway tile and there’s a huge vintage sign that says “burgers” letting you know what this place is about from the time you walk in.

Illegal Food Brunch
Bloody Mary and Money Maker
Cafe Britt


We were seated in a booth outside on the covered patio which is quite large and is decorated with art that made for a great conversation. Our waiter immediately walked over and made cocktail recommendations that included the fruity and floral Money Maker made with hibiscus vodka and rose. Oh and what is brunch without a bloody mary? He said we “absolutely had to try” theirs and he was right. This version had all the trimmings one would expect, but the showstopper was the gorgeous whole crawfish that it was topped off with.

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Illegal Food Brunch

As we scoured the menu, my eyes went to the O.D.B. almost immediately. What happens when you combine Brasstown beef, American cheese, house-cured bacon, an over-easy egg and maple mayo all in between 2 Krispy Kreme donuts? You have a cornucopia of flavors that is deliciously messy, sweet and salty, satisfying every taste bud.

The infamous Southern favorite chicken and waffles is done right by Illegal Food. Three whole Joyce Farms chicken wings dusted with powdered sugar and served with buttermilk pecan waffles. The black pepper, bourbon and sorghum maple syrup is intoxicating and addicting and you can’t forget to squeeze the pipette of house-made hot sauce all over the chicken to give it all a little kick.

When I want more from brunch than eggs, Illegal food is where I’m headed.

*My meal was complimentary however all opinions are my own.

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