Opening at Sister Louisa’s is a homecoming of sorts for Lingenfelter, who served as the general manager of neighboring Corner Tavern in the mid-2000s and initially launched Illegal Food as a pop-up at Joystick Gamebar down the street.
Sister Louisa’s owner Grant Henry purchased Corner Tavern in 2020 and expanded the bar into the space. He reached out to Lingenfelter during the pandemic when the latter was paying the bills by delivering meals to people’s houses, and asked what it would take for him to take over the former Corner Tavern kitchen space.
“He said, ‘What’s your ideal food situation? What would that look like?’” Lingenfelter said. “And we talked about it and made it happen.”
Lingenfelter opened Illegal Food as a brick-and-mortar at 1044 Greenwood Ave. NE in early 2015. The restaurant, which developed a cult following for its sandwiches and sides including okonomiyaki fries, closed in 2017.
Since then, Illegal Food has popped up at local restaurants including Little’s in Cabbagetown and the now-shuttered Dish Dive in Kirkwood. Lingenfelter was also slated to develop the menu for Cabbagetown restaurant Mouth of the South, which opened in 2018 and closed the following year, though those plans fell through.
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