This fall, look out for Anomar—a modern Mexican concept coming to Pilsen. Anomar is the brainchild of Daniel Espinoza, who spent two years developing the idea while traveling the country to cook for the “social dining experiment” Dinner Lab. It’s also his 86-year-old tamale-slinging grandmother’s name spelled backwards.
“I know it’s cliché,” says Espinoza, “but she’s the person who made me fall in love with cooking.”
Anomar will seat 20 on its ground floor with room for 40 more upstairs. Espinoza chose to avoid the typically colorful décor of Mexican eateries (“All those neon piñatas give me a headache”), opting instead for bone and ivory tones, with whitewashed walls and lots of exposed wood. “It feels like my grandmother’s house,” he says. “Very cozy and unpretentious.”
While the exact location is still under wraps, Espinoza expects the concept to open in the Pilsen Arts District in late October. The menu includes items such as carnitas-stuffed tamales modeled on the corundas of Espinoza’s ancestral home, Michoacán. The masa is blended with bone marrow for extra savory punch.
“This is a very meaningful dish for me, because I come from three generations of tamale makers,” says Espinoza. He spent his childhood summers in Mexico, milling corn and making tamales with the aforementioned granny.
Other planned highlights: mezcal-cured foie gras torchons served over Mexican bread pudding, and a rum cake with cajeta mousse, mazapan crumble, and sesame and pumpkin seeds. But Espinoza can’t take credit for all of that: The cake comes courtesy of pastry chef (and Espinoza's wife) Jhoana Ruiz—the couple has been together since 2013.